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Scholars Have Done Tuck-Well
The 2014 class of Tuckwell scholars was announced in June earlier this year. Rest assured; according to an ANU press release, selection panellist Brian Schmidt affirms “they are really great thinkers, they are interesting people and they really just want to learn.” The 25 scholars will touch down at the ANU next year, coming from different regions across Australia. “We were after a highly talented group of students from all around Australia; from the city, from the country, from private schools, from Catholic schools, from government schools. That’s what we’ve got,” says Graham Tuckwell. When asked what it feels like to be the only Tasmanian scholar, Jessica Woolnough (pictured) of Hellyer College replied “to be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I think it is wonderful to have diversity within the Tuckwell scholars – this not only lies in what region of Australia we come from, but also within our journeys thus far and our passions”. The generous scholarship is valued at $20 000 per year for up to 5 years of undergraduate study. For NSW scholar Abirami Rajkumar, the Tuckwell scholarship facilitates her study at the ANU and allows her to enjoy a collegial experience, which she describes as “a dream come true”. “I don’t live with my family so it would have been financially impossible to move over [without the scholarship]... I wouldn’t have been able to afford campus accommodation.” “I found out [that I had received the scholarship] through a personal phone call from Mr Tuckwell...the greatest phone call of my adolescent life. I felt absolutely over the moon and was
humbled to know that hard work and dedication is truly rewarded”. The scholars were put through several application stages, which culminated in a weekend of individual and group interviews, as well as a tour of the ANU campus. “The interview process was one of the greatest weekends of my life. Being in such close proximity with such amazing individuals and professionals was an absolute honour,” says Rajkumar. “It was nice to know the panel simply wanted to get to know you for who you truly were”. Not knowing what to expect from the interview, Woolnough read her application and reflected upon herself, her goals, values and passions. “In other words, I felt quite unprepared! A little nervous too, but excited to be given the opportunity”. The Graham and Louise Tuckwell Foundation launched applications for the inaugural Tuckwell Scholarship in February this year. In order to be selected, shortlisted students had to exhibit the Tuckwell values of integrity, humility and generosity, demonstrate academic and social achievement, a commitment to Australia and a desire to “give back” to the nation. Graham Tuckwell, an alumnus of ANU, describes ‘the Tuckwell vision’ as an illustrious community of academics to grow over time, where students and alumni “will inspire and support each other to achieve great things”. In addition to the Tuckwell’s generous grant, the class of 2014 will be admitted to Scholars House, be paired with a personal academic mentor from the ANU and enjoy membership to the ANU Sport & Recreation Society.
Budget a Cut Above Expectations
Jobs will be cut, parking fees will rise, even the pot plants will be removed from the Chancellery as a result of the Federal Government’s removal of $51 million of funding to the ANU. The ANU’s “Budget Solutions” were announced by ViceChancellor Ian Young in a forum in Llewellyn Hall on July 2. Students and staff were relieved however that drastic cuts were avoided in favour of smaller efficiency gains, with a view towards reducing duplication of staff and resources and the wastage of funds across the University. 230 administrative jobs will be cut, representing 10% of the total administrative workforce at
ANU. The Vice-Chancellor stressed however that these cuts would preferably take place through natural attrition or through voluntary redundancies for staff over the age of 55. Academic staff will remain unaffected by forced job cuts, and the Vice-Chancellor stressed there would be efforts to rejuvenate the academic staff population with younger members. However, as a result of the rise in student numbers, there will be an increase in the workload for academics. For staff, the blows were sweetened by an immediate 2 per cent pay rise for all staff, along with another 2 per cent increase due in 2014, an
THIS EDITION’S PULLOUT: BUSH WEEK
expenditure expected to eat into much of the savings made by the cuts. In an expected change, parking fees will rise, affecting prices for undercover parking permits only, not surface parking permits or ‘pay-anddisplay’ parking. Previously it was often cheaper to park on campus than to take public transport. Other key measures announced at the forum include an increase in the numbers of undergraduate students by 12 percent by 2015, forcing staff to take their accrued annual leave, a ten per cent rise in fees for international students by 2015, and a one-and-a-half per cent increase in internation-
al coursework student intake. The university will make further savings by improving efficiency in university overheads. The ANU’s travel budget for staff will be cut by $1.7m by 2015 and ANU-owned vehicles will be shared under a car-pooling arrangement. Energy bills will also decrease by $2m by next year. Further, in a symbolic gesture of personal sacrifice, The ViceChancellor will donate $50’000 of his own salary back to the university.
India and China: Border face off
India will pay $11bn to create a new army of 50,000 troops to protect its border with China. The Himalayan mountain border separating the two nations has been in dispute since the SinoIndia war in 1962.
India is weaker militarily than China and both states possess nuclear weapons.
Greece to butcher civil service for bail-out Greece has agreed to fire 15,000 civil servants by the end of 2014 in return for a €6.8bn bailout from the IMF and EU. The agreements have sparked widespread protest and strikes.
US Gov’t Spying Using Number Plates A new paper published by the American Civil Liberties Union says that the US gov’t is using number plate readers to track the movements of US citizens. The information is being compiled into enormous databases that gives the US gov’t access to the movements and whereabouts of most Americans, the report claims.
First Online Elections for PARSA Brings New Blood
THE ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) recently held its annual elections which saw a largely new cohort of postgraduate students join the council that represents over eight thousand postgraduate students. Of the new executive team of ten members (pictured below, excluding equity officer Ben Niles) seven are international students, which is perhaps reflective of the growing number of international postgraduate students enrolling at ANU. For the first time the elections for the twentynine positions on the PRC (postgraduate representative council) were conducted online. A source said that aside from the usual glitches that come with the introduction of any new election process, which brought criticism from some candidates, the process was “surprisingly smooth” and voter turnout exceeded expectations. Credit was given to Dale Brosnahan, general manager of Residential and Campus Communities, who oversaw the process as returning officer. Results of the online election were announced at an annual general meeting on 31 May, and immediately after the PRC elected its executive team, starting with new president and former treasurer Arjuna Mohottala, who comfortably defeated his only opponent, former vice president Imogen Mathew.
The new vice president, Belynda Akello, is also president of the African Students’ Association and is widely regarded among postgraduate students as a future president of the association. Louisa Trang, a Juris Doctor student in the College of Law, joins the team as treasurer. Two new positions were approved in the last term by the PRC as additions to the executive team, one being education officer, filled by diplomacy student George Carter, who some insiders considered a presidential possibility, and the other a communications officer, filled by Khusbu Agrawal of the Crawford School. Mr Mohottala, whose wife is also a PhD student at ANU, delivered a strong speech focusing on a vision that sees postgraduate students given the best services and support in Australia and the world. A former senior economist in the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Mr Mohottala also stressed his desire to see student money well spent across the ANU. Outgoing president, Julie Melrose expressed her thanks to colleagues for the support given to her during a “time of growth” for PARSA. Ms Melrose will be contesting the seat of Canberra in the upcoming federal election for the Greens and continuing in her role as Associate Director of the Conservation Council.
Millennial Generation Ignorant on Basic Science A new poll by the Australian Academy of Sciences has found the millennial generation are ignorant on basic scientific facts. A mere 62% of 18-24 year olds knew how long it took for the earth to orbit the sun, down from 74% when the same poll was conducted in 2010. Fewer young Australians also knew that evolution is still happening. Experts blamed the decline on increased reliance on the Internet and the overuse of search engines.
Moose’s Loss, Burgmann’s Gain
ANDALEEB AKHAND Mooseheads has recently lost a protracted legal battle with Burgmann Residents’ Association regarding a dispute over sponsorship money. After failing to reason with the owner of the nightclub to pay $8800 in sponsorship money, Burgmann’s Residents’ Association made the decision to take Mooseheads to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal in November 2011. The sponsorship deal, agreed on in February of that year, had included trading cash, loyalty cards and kegs for Mooseheads advertising. When Burgmann asked the club where the $7000 was in an email in August 2011, Mooseheads director Nicole Miladinovic replied:
“That is bazarr [sic] as a cash payment was picked up by one of your committee the week of your after party and ball…” Ms Miladinovic claimed that a man had called her in late May, asking that the sponsorship money be paid in cash and be collected from Mooseheads. She said that she had placed the $7000 in cash in an envelope, and instructed the bar staff to alert her when a representative from Burgmann College arrived. Allegedly, a man wearing a Burgmann rugby jersey walked in and was given the money. He supposedly stayed in the bar for five minutes and
EDITORIAL BOARD Samantha Bradley Vincent Chiang Fergus Hunter Ben Latham Areti Metuamate AJ Neilson Lillian Ward
then walked out. According to Ms Miladinovic, he didn’t give a name, his identity was never established, and he didn’t ask for a receipt. CCTV footage of the man was not kept, the tribunal was informed. She assumed that he was a representative of the association because he asked for her by name and knew details of the sponsorship agreement and the Burgmann College Ball. However, the association quickly established that none of their members had done any such thing, and collecting in cash was not the way the association had ever received sponsorship payments in the past. While it is possible a former
SUB EDITORS Linda Ma David Tuckwell Dong Hyun Suh Dan Rose Sinead O’Connell Rob Selth Eleanor Campbell Josh Chu-Tan
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Burgmann resident could have perpetrated such a fraud, the association didn’t have the resources to conduct a review of all former residents, and in any case, found the story extremely difficult to believe. They informed the tribunal that because they had never received the $7000, the sponsorship agreement had been breached. The tribunal ordered Mooseheads to pay the $8800, plus other fees worth $139. With the money having finally arrived, the Residents Association will likely use some of the money to host an event for its 2011 residents, with the rest to go to its surplus.
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ANU Stars at International Conference
ANDALEEB AKHAND THE Asia-Pacific Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC) is one of the largest and most prestigious tertiary Model United Nations conferences in the world. This year it was held from 7-12 July in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and what Lonely Planet has dubbed the “Coolest Little Capital in the World.” 370 students from universities across the region, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Samoa converged on the city to continue the original mandate of the conference, which is meaningful engagement with important global issues in the spirit of collaboration promoted by the United Nations. This year’s theme of “Breaking Barriers” signaled the intent of AMUNC 2013 to play a positive role in addressing the problems which
Debaters Seek Malaysian Solutions
ANU Debating saw extraordinary success over the holidays, breaking a team to the semi-finals of one of the most prestigious debating tournaments in the world. Five teams from the ANU Debating contingent competed in July at the Australasian Debating Championships (colloquially known as “Australs”). Against more than one hundred other teams, the contingent debated on topics as diverse as “That CEOS of major news companies should be democratically elected in open public elections.” to “That we should refuse classification to films and TV shows that fail the Bechdel Test.” After eight preliminary rounds, ANU’s top ranked team (known as “ANU1”) broke to the finals series. The team, comprised of Laura h Birchall, Thomas Goldie and Richard Keys, outs d o e -
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plague our world at a time of constant change and flux. The ANU sent a delegation of 25 students to the conference, who were represented in a diverse range of committees, including the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Over the course of five days, students worked to pass a resolution on their prescribed topics, whether it was the operation of private military companies, developing a post-Kyoto Protocol framework for addressing climate change, or effective aid management. Concluding the week of committee debate, all delegates came together in Wellington’s magnificent Town Hall, where they debated and eventu-
ally voted on the question of the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic. The crisis in Syria proved to be just as divisive among AMUNC delegates as it is in real life, made particularly clear by the response to the action of the delegate representing the United States to unilaterally send troops into Syria. Other highlights of the conference included the social events, such as a “Global Village”-style event at New Zealand’s National Museum and culminating in the Finale Ball themed “New York, New York”, celebrating the home of the United Nations. Delegates also had the opportunity to attend a speaker event, on topics ranging from democratisation in the Asia-Pacific to constitutional representation and protection of indigenous peoples in the region. During the speaker event, delegates were able to listen to the expert insights of aid workers, diplomats and academics, insights that cannot be gained just from reading newspaper headlines. The ANU performed outstandingly in their respective committees, which led to several students being recognised at the Closing Ceremony, receiving two Best Delegate awards, three Diplomacy awards and three Honourable Mentions. The ANU delegation’s achievements and conduct during AMUNC 2013 led to it being recognised as the “Best Large Delegation” at the Finale Ball. This was a source of immeasurable pride for the ANU students present, and is a testament to their calibre of delegates and hard work in the lead-up to and during the conference. AMUNC 2014 will be held in Brisbane.
debated teams from the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney and Monash University, to make it to the semi-finals. This placed ANU1 in the top four teams of the Australasian region, an achievement unmatched by any other team from ANU Debating since 2009. In the end, ANU1 lost to the top ranked team from the Victoria University of Wellington in a heated debate on the motion “That tax offices should be allowed to retrospectively declare acts of aggressive accounting, which exploit tax loopholes, illegal.” Amongst the adjudication panel of the debate was Chris Bisset, the top ranked speaker in the world, amongst other equally illustrious Australian debaters. There was also remarkable individual success at the tournament from the ANU. In one of the most high quality tournaments in the world,
Thomas Goldie and Richard Keys ranked equal 11th and equal 33rd respectively in the speaker rankings. Laura Birchall and ANU2’s Tom Chen also ranked equal 55th, placing them in the top tier of speakers in the Australasian region. First year adjudicators Richard Kong and Stacey Waring were also promoted to chairing rooms, suggesting that the future of ANU Debating still shines brightly. At the tournament’s denouement, the University of Sydney Union 2 won above Victoria University of Wellington 1, on the motion “That women should be criminally liable for harm to foetuses in utero as a result of their lifestyle choices”. It has yet to be announced where the Australasian Championships will be held in 2015.
Global Exchange, Local Delights JESSY WU FOR the ANU delegation, the GXT was a whirlwind experience that comprised both collaborative discussion and cultural immersion. In the ten days the delegates spent in Beijing, they climbed the Great Wall, battled their way through swarms of people on public transport, and forged new friendships over hot pot and pijiu. The aim of the annual GXT is to encourage cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange. In bringing together students from a range of backgrounds, the GXT facilitates discussions that yield innovative and original ideas about topical issues. This year, the GXT brought together students from Australia, Singapore, Japan, and China. The academic fields of expertise of the delegates spanned everything from accounting to Hebrew. But far from impeding communication, their different backgrounds allowed the students to bring unique ways of looking at an issue that affects everyone. This year, the topic was The Future of Media. After being inspired by talks from academics, journalists, and entrepreneurs, the four teams began to explore issues such as privacy, equality of access, online activism, and ways to increase audience engagement with news stories. In the final symposium the delegates heard exciting and novel solutions to problems they identified with the current media. Among these were ways to combat the rising trend of “slacktivism”, of people thinking that liking pages on Facebook is enough to create change in the real world. The team that explored this issue proposed a platform called “It’s Not Enough to Give a Sh!t”, which aimed to turn online interest into real actions. Another team recognized that inequality of access to media reflects and perpetuates inequalities in income and living conditions. The team believed that ensuring access to social media could give disadvantaged citizens a voice, and thus a mechanism to improve their conditions. The team that was awarded first place in the competition proposed a solution which sought to take advantage of a rapidly developing and widely loved form of new media: that of the video game. The team saw video games not only as a way to communicate experiences that cannot be distilled into words, but also as a means to actively engage the audience in news stories by giving them a stake in the issue. This team included ANU students Katie Cox and Jessy Wu. The memories of lively dinner table conversations to the view from atop the Great Wall are sure to stay with the delegates for many years to come. For other ANU students, there are sure to be opportunities as well, as the GXT will be held at the ANU next year.
The Secret PMB History
DANIEL ROSE “ON the Hill” has once again changed hands, and I’m going to pre-empt the collective sigh from our readership by making an undertaking not to grease my lips and scuff my knees at the waist of the ALP or the Coalition, not out of a quasi-virtuous appeal to intellectual honesty, but because you can now get your partisan political fix from any of Australia’s esteemed media outlets. I’m going to excavate for you, under-reported issues centering not simply on the chambers of Australian Parliament House, but all of the carpetbaggers, jackals and spineless cretins that hover around the place like the annual swarm of bogong moths that make every minute I spend there a nightmare. My first column couldn’t go without a mention of the ALP leadership spill, so there it is. Let’s
move on. While most legislation is introduced by a member of the Executive (Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries), there is the Private Members’ Bill (PMB) that is introduced by a member of the Legislature (Member or Senator in their respective chamber). The PMB is a rare creature, due to the fact that its chance of passing is contingent on the goodwill of the Government, for it requires a sponsor in both chambers, and the numbers to pass it. During John Howard’s eleven year reign, a total of 290 PMBs were introduced, with only six receiving Royal assent (i.e. being made into an Act of Parliament). Of those bills that were passed, all were introduced by members of the Federal Coalition, including three from the Speaker. During Kevin Rudd’s first tilt at commandeering Australia (almost three years), there were 130 PMBs introduced, with none passed. 28 of those bills were introduced (full or in part) by Opposition members.
The Gillard era saw only 71 PMBs introduced, with six passing both chambers. 26 of those PMBs were introduced by Opposition members, and of those bills that were passed, all but one was introduced by the Greens or Independents, with the remaining one introduced by the President of the Senate John Hogg. It should be noted, before we continue, that the vast bulk of PMBs that were introduced in all of the above examples never made it to the second reading stage, that is, they were never debated in Parliament. This is owed partly to the fact that there is only a finite amount of time the Parliament has to debate bills, even with the addition of the Main Committee (now Federation Chamber). The Parliament also has to allocate time for the inevitable condolence motions for dead soldiers and philanthropists, leaving precious little for PMBs. Eating into debate time any further would lead to more howls from the Opposition (ALP or Coalition) that the Government is “guillotining” debate. You can see this phenomenon occurring in all Federal Parlia-
The record of the last three Prime Ministers shows that it is only out of political necessity that the Government assists the passage of a PMB. This current Parliament, the 43rd Parliament, the dreaded Hung Parliament, required cooperation between the ALP and the crossbench...
ments, that is, the Opposition having its cake and eating it too. The issue at heart, though, is the nature of PMBs. The record of the last three Prime Ministers shows that it is only out of political necessity that the Government assists the passage of a PMB. This current Parliament, the 43rd Parliament, the dreaded Hung Parliament, required cooperation between the ALP and the crossbench, meaning that for once in recent memory, genuine PMBs were passed, though in a number dwarfed by Government-sponsored bills. The introduction of PMBs by Opposition members and crossbenchers is now a statement of political principle, an act of theatrics rivalling Question Time (Questions Without Notice for the Hansard wonks out there), and the terrible record of the past three Prime Ministers demonstrates the hubris each has shown in the legislative arena. The only remedy would be to allow more time, especially to the Federation Chamber to debate legislation, so the case for now is that only when threatened with losing power will a government assist the passage of bills (e.g. Greens and Oakeshott), and this arrangement seems preferable to the status quo regime of a rubber-stamp parliament. @DanielPRose classicalsauce.tumblr.com
An Ex-Homophobe’s Confession
WHEN I was in high school I never considered myself to be anything other than introverted. While I enjoyed the occasional quiet gathering, parties were definitely not my thing and I counted the minutes until I could be home relaxing in front of the TV, in my own company. When I came to college, I soon realized that I could be someone else other than the awkward emo girl with the popular brother. I became the confident version of myself - someone that other people would label as extroverted. Despite appearing as an extrovert, I still considered myself to be partially introverted. While my confidence had shot skywards since coming to university, I still felt the need for that “alone time” to revitalize, but at the same time I couldn’t really call myself an introvert anymore, since I felt a similar rejuvenation from being with friends. I struggled with placing myself into either category for ages before I realized that one of the worst mistakes any person can make is to place themselves – or anyone else – into a category with four solid walls and no doorway offering anything else outside of it. It was the spunky Jane Lynch of Glee fame who said “sexuality doesn’t have to be black and white, sometimes it’s grey and it swims” and I think the same applies for social personalities. Introvertedness is an excuse not to practice and cultivate refined social skills, and can prevent people from strengthening their character and becoming the person they want to be in society. Additionally, in today’s social media introvertedness and its partner “awkwardness” can be glorified as “cute” or “alternative,” which effectively pushes its serious limitations under the rug. Similarily, extrovertedness can be a recipe for hating your own company, and for losing a strong concept of yourself as an individual, away from other people. It’s been my experience that this can sometimes lead to despondency, as a result of being unable to deal with being alone. Both, I think, are – or can be if you let them – a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are given a label by society that inevitably comes with a list of things we have to be, all wrapped up in a neat little package, like a Light ‘n’ Easy subscription. Essentially, what we’re being told is that if we don’t get all the instructions right, or if we don’t tick all the boxes, then we don’t deserve the label. Truth be told, with billions of different people in the world, how could two social identity categories possibly be a perfect fit for everybody? I guess what I want you to take away from this, if anything, is be who you want to be, not who you think you should be. It’s too easy to fall into identity labels already constructed for us by society and by media. Being your own person means sometimes thinking outside the pre-construed “introvert” and “extrovert” boxes, or any other boxes for that matter. It means thinking twice the next time you reach for the nametag that says “introvert” or “extrovert” in big, corporate letters.
SO here is the thing, I used to be a homophobe. I was by all accounts a right-wing conservative who didn’t support marriage equality and made cringe worthy jokes about people who I suspected were gay. This isn’t an easy thing for me to admit and looking back I am deeply ashamed, not the least of all because I am gay. When I started university I met a lot of people, some who laughed at my awful jokes and some who just ignored me. What it really took though was one particular friend in first year to sit me down and tell me that my behaviour was unacceptable. To say that I was shocked that someone was defending the gay community was an understatement; it was just not my learned experience. It remains one of the defining moments in my life - it’s ok to be gay. I believe that many of us are a product of our upbringing and being from a small, sheltered country town in Victoria I don’t think I am any different: before university I had never even met a gay person. I don’t blame my parents for my homophobia, as much of it stemmed from my own paralysing fear of being different. Even after this confrontation with my friend, it still took a solid two years of internal struggle and anxiety for me to come out. This resulted in a few things: my first girlfriend and a temporary breakdown
of relationship and communication with my parents. However, after months of difficulty and many tears, the relationship slowly began to mend. But, at this point I was very lost, even though I had embraced my sexuality, I didn’t know where I belonged and how to express myself. Although at first it scared me, I met some gay people and then some more and eventually I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin. Then it dawned on me, I had gone to bed one night with rights and woken up the next day without them. At first I didn’t really mind because I had no intention of getting married before 30, but as the years got on it started to drag me down. I had grown up in a Christian family and had assumed that I would at some point get an opportunity to get married and commit to someone I loved for life – I had taken it for granted. I started to get mad. Other than my sexual orientation (and a more rounded view of the world), what about me had really changed? I looked and sounded the same, I was still a poor student who played basketball, listened to The Waifs and went red talking to somebody I liked. The only fundamental thing that had changed was the gender of the person I liked. Now, some out there may argue that in making this “choice” to become gay I knew what I was get-
ting myself into. This is simply uninformed and offensive to every single person in the LGBTIQ* community. Why would anyone actively choose to be discriminated against by people like I used to be? I sure wouldn’t. Being liberated from my blind hate was one of the most positive experiences in my life as I learned to accept people for who they were and whom they loved. I am absolutely, definitely and unequivocally gay and I cannot help but thank my friend for standing up to me. Without him I would either still be off hiding in Narnia… or married to someone whose love I could never fully return. What sort of an existence is that? As we come up to the end of this election year marriage equality will be on the political cards yet again in some way, shape or form. If I could say one thing to those who are unconvinced about amendment to the Marriage Act it would be this: love is love and intolerance does not make you happier or more fulfilled person. Trust me, I know. In the end, everyone deserves the chance to be happy and express their love whichever way they choose in this secular country. Ultimately, marriage equality isn’t about taking away rights, it’s about enhancing them. So go on, I dare you, stand up to that one friend who still thinks that discrimination is funny.
Marriage Equality: The US vs Australia JACK GEORGIEFF
26 June 2013 was of course the day that Kevin Rudd was restored as Australia’s prime minister. But I am not going to write about that – no doubt this edition of Woroni will be chock-a-block with coverage of what was a tumultuous political week. What I will comment on is another aspect of Rudd’s return and two judicial decisions handed down that day, on an issue that is now the civil rights issue of our time: marriage equality. I spent the first half of this year living and working in Washington DC. For a policy geek like me, it was heaven. Working in a think tank, alongside some of the best minds in the world on international strategy, diplomacy, economics, health and climate change was intellectually titillating. In the many water cooler chats (minus the water cooler), the issue of equality was topical to say the least. When I arrived in the United States, nine states plus the District of Columbia allowed samesex marriage. I arrived back in Sydney only two days before the Supreme Court handed down its decision ruling the Defence of Marriage Act unconstitutional and nullifying Proposition 8, allowing same sex marriage to resume in America’s most populous state, California. That day was also when Kevin Rudd toppled Julia Gillard, reversing his opposition to it only a few before resuming the prime ministership). He is the first Australian prime minister to back same sex marriage. Some are sceptical and a little cynical, others are optimistic and grateful. I’m in the latter camp. Many see former opponents of
marriage equality as being a suspicious political ploy to hunt for votes. Perhaps. Hillary Clinton came out for it only days before hearings on Prop 8 and DOMA began. The Economist was particularly sceptical in its usual pontificating tone. Personally, I have a little more faith that people like Clinton and Rudd have had a genuine reversal in their beliefs. Such endorsements matter and can help change others who have opposed the better debate within society. So when I arrived back in Australia only a few weeks ago, it felt like Australia was really lagging behind the United States on this issue, with Rudd’s idea of a referendum not warmly received by many quarters. The fact that Tony Abbott still maintains that marriage equality is not inevitable or labels it a passing fad is wrong and politically naïve. While both Abbott’s daughters and his openly gay sister are marriage equality supporters, Abbott himself refuses to budge. If he wins the election (and there is every chance that he will), Australia will have a leader who frankly has a vision of society more suited to the nuclear family unit of the 1950s than the 2010s. When marriage equality also passed in April this year across the ditch in New Zealand (my place of birth as it so happens), the outpouring of support and jubilation was ecstatic to say the least – the singing of Pokarekare Ana (a tradition Maori love song) was a hit on You Tube. The months of March to June in the US saw a cascade of support for marriage equality in opinion polls, passage through several
state legislatures, and the Supreme Court cases. I sincerely hope this issue begins to gain the salience it has had in the US in recent months. The US is a great model to follow. Kevin 13 could even more Ruddmentum on the issue, albeit at the risk of alienating opponents such as Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby. I think that is a good thing. Wallace is a bigoted relic. I was particularly offended last year when he stated, “a homosexual lifestyle was more hazardous to health than smoking.” I always find opponents of marriage equality very keen to make comment upon personal lives and choices of individuals who simply like to sleep and be with people of the same sex. In the US, these sorts of bigoted views (and they ARE bigoted views) are becoming less fashionable very fast, even amongst young evangelical and conservative Christians. It seemed that until recently, Australia was going to remain a cultural backwater on this issue. Rudd’s return may signal a shift in the debate over marriage equality. Having lived in the US so recently, I did (on the odd drunken occasion) look a little more earnestly for a husband while I was there (alas to no avail… this time…). Let’s hope the narrative of marriage equality in Australia changes from hereon in. Ruddmentum for this will help. The US is a shining example for us to follow. Not often you see those words written these days.
COMMENT// 6 Censorship is Offensive
MARK FABIAN THE tension between freedom of speech and being offensive is becoming increasingly apparent in Australia. Where in the past a clause relating to incitement to violence was the only limit we would tolerate to free speech, Roxon’s panned offence laws suggest many people now think we should also prohibit statements that are excessively rude. Is there any way to find a reasonable principle for censorship? A good place to start looking for answers is the controversy around Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, which earned him a Fatwah from the Ayatollah Khomeini, the supreme ruler of Iran, for blasphemy. The Satanic Verses is principally an exploration of the immigrant experience, but made use of satirical allusions to the Quran as literary devices. In particular, some passages suggested that the “Satanic Verses”, a small number of Pagan verses believed to have once been included in the Quran but later removed, were self-interested in origin, questioning the divine motives of the Prophet. Arguably even more inflammatory were passages where 12 whores in a brothel each take the name of one of the Prophet’s wives. In the wake of the Fatwah, a group of intellectuals from across Europe signed a declaration of solidarity, a World Statement (W.S.), with Rushdie. They approached Karl Popper, a notable philosopher of liberalism, who declined to sign. Here’s why: “If a W.S. is published, it must, in my opinion, begin by saying that the signatories realise that every freedom (like the freedom to publish) involves a duty (like the duty not to hurt)...And the W.S. would have to continue by saying that Rushdie has now realised the hurt he has caused, and has apologised for it”. This would seem to come down quite decisively on the side of offensiveness being not okay. But it must be remembered that in liberal nations we consider freedom of speech a right, not a duty. This is crucial, because rights are institutionally enforced, while duties are the ambit of subjective, individual morality. Popper underscores this when he emphasises that Rushdie has apologised. The responsibility for restorative justice rests on
Rushdie and the offended parties, not institutions. Yet in Rushdie’s case, and in Roxon’s laws, institutional power failed to defend free speech and instead sought to chastise people for being impolite. Liberalism, which has coincided with the greatest period of human flourishing in our history, is predicated on fallibilism—the idea that we may be wrong. This is the bedrock of tolerance, cultural relativism, rational public debate and rule of law. Nobody should be able to dictate what is “true” or “right”. These claims must always be contested in the public space. So when people are offended it is appropriate for them to air their grievances through letters to the editor, newspaper articles and other public comments. This facilitates a discussion. But it is not appropriate for people to seek an institutional response to something they find offensive. Having institutions dictate truth gives overt power a means to exercise itself independently of collective will. This is precisely what the liberal institutional framework was designed to combat: the oppressive force of a state above the law, an infallible church and an aristocracy who justified their wealth through a moral order that kept the poor beneath “their betters”. A citizenry tough enough to handle satire and criticism is crucial to the robust public space necessary for liberal democratic functioning. Someone will be offended by just about anything. Try reading the ABC complaints compilation if you don’t believe me. If we start to institutionally constrain actions on the grounds that they cause offence we won’t have a public discourse left. We won’t have the slack to courageously criticise institutions for fear of persecution, and then we’ll be right back in the dark ages before the enlightenment brought us out of Plato’s cave. The freedom to offend is an increasingly mainstream controversy and we as a liberal society need to conclude it decidedly in favour of an institutional right to freedom of speech. Offence can be handled by individuals, freedom cannot. The author blogs at markfabian.blogspot.com
Religion: Silence is not Tolerance
THE Christian radio station is a surprisingly good listen when RnB, electro-synth pop, and dubstep take over the radio waves at 2am on Saturday morning. Half-speaking, half-shouting in a thick Jewish accent, a preacher declares, “Many people seem offended when I ask about their beliefs. They say ‘oh my beliefs are private!’ Really? Are your beliefs so private they do not exist?” According to the 2011 Census, 68% of Australians identify as having a religion. However, the lack of religious reference and discussion in public life indicates either the number of people identifying with a religion is in fact much lower, or those that identify keep their beliefs private. My initial thought in response to the preacher, and in response to the well-guarded beliefs of Australians was that keeping religion to oneself is a good thing. Religion is a highly personal topic, and when discussed often results in awkward conversations, people thinking you’re ‘uncool’, and, at worst, conflict. Looking back, this type of thinking is a reflection of the widely held antagonism in response to religion. Religion is not spoken about because it is an unwelcome topic. But the rejection of religion in public discourse denies the identity of believers, precisely because religion is so personal. As society becomes more tolerant of cultural diversity (admittedly we are not completely there yet), we are reluctant to embrace different religious beliefs. Religious antagonism does not manifest in the burning of the Bible, Qur’an, Torah, the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, or religious persecution that causes people to flee as refugees; religious hostility is ingrained in snide remarks and throwaway comments condemning religion. Other than religious insults, religion is only mentioned in society through the religious ranting of those that, God forbid, try to force their beliefs upon others. Placid comments about going to a place of worship, feeling good about your beliefs on a given day, or wanting to explore spirituality are rarely heard. There are a number of reasons religion is unspeakable. Religion is often presumed to cause conflict, if not in the physical, worldly sense, then among family and friends. It is better to avoid mentioning religion to maintain political correctness. An ANU Compliment written mid-June praises the efforts of those that maintain this political correctness. Written in good faith, the author respects those “who don’t believe in any religion but respect others who are religious, and people who are religious but keep their beliefs to themselves and don’t question others”. Great. It’s good to be respectful, but I take issue with the idea that beliefs must be kept to oneself. If we really respected each other’s beliefs, people would not need to keep their beliefs silent. Respect for religion seems to mean nothing more than ignoring that religious beliefs exist. If political correctness is meant to reduce discrimination, ignoring religion in the name of respect is the opposite. Religion is the personal belief of an individual that contributes to who they are as a person. A society which “respects” religion by disregarding it takes the freedom of speech away from people whose religion play an important part in their lives. This is not to say
there are no brave individuals that publicly and harmlessly talk about their beliefs. But if it is only the brave that can speak about their beliefs, we need to rethink how free and fair our society really is. Along similar lines to the political correctness argument, people are silent about religion because of specific negative associations of religion and the potential for these to spark strong feeling. For example, the idea that religion causes conflict is an incredibly divisive remark. If you are a Muslim, your views about religion and conflict will undoubtedly differ from a Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, a non-religious person, or someone who is interested in current affairs. My view is that it is not religion per se that causes conflict, but it is human pride that makes it difficult to cope with others who are different, or those that perceive the activities of others as a threats to their own - a kind of ethnocentrism. Religion has also been associated with heinous acts throughout history and to this day. Recently, for example, the Sydney riot in response to the film the Innocence of Muslims late last year was carried out by a Muslim crowd. The sex-abuse scandals centering around the Catholic clergy is another example. Acts such as these mar the name of religion. However, the institution of religion and the way it is carried out should be distinguished. Muslim leaders were quick to condemn the riot and to reiterate that the reaction was not in line with the teachings Islam. Although the people involved in this incident were Muslim, it does not mean every Muslim person is violently unreasonable. Similarly, not all Catholic people are paedophiles. These acts are committed by people, not religion. Misrepresentation occurs at smaller scales as well. Individuals who misrepresent religion are almost always vocal about it, and that again perpetuates negative connotations. Finally, there are the arguments of scientific rationality proving God does not exist or that religion is for the weak, or that religion is not relevant to the modern age, restricting religion in public life. Without condemning these beliefs, they are value judgements and subjective beliefs of non-religious people. It is only fair that people with religious beliefs be allowed to have the same freedom to express themselves as well. In the past, religion and politics were two topics never mentioned at the dinner table. How this has changed. For some, politics is now a frequent dinner conversation. We are urged by politicians, leaders, educators and activists to be involved in political discussion. Although race is not an ideal dinner table topic either, society is encouraged to have a conversation about race and multiculturalism. Yet religion remains taboo. I am not advocating large scale discussions about religious freedom, but I do think we need to tolerate and respect religion in a way we have not done before. I look forward to a society where one person can say they went to church on the weekend and it centered them for the week, or they read their Qu’ran before uni; and for another person to accept it without question or criticism. Without this freedom of expression, we deny the fundamental aspects of life that so many in our society ascribe to.
Cyber-security as Foreign Policy YOHAN IDDAWELA
The Need For Political Leadership
THE 21st century has witnessed the proliferation of cyber-crime ranging from small-scale e instances of identity theft to large-scale disruptions of government websites. In the midst of this e purported era of cyber-insecurity, a number of surveys have been conducted to interrogate the reactions of Australians to this ostensible threat of cyber-crime. In 2012, a survey undertaken by CERT found that over 20% of Australian organie sations had been victims of cyber-crime, with a t further 20% of these organisations having experienced over 10 separate incidents. Similarly, the 2007 Community Attitudes to Privacy survey conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner Australia found that 81% of Australians had grown concerned about providing information over the Internet due to heightened fears of cyber-crime. The Australian government has subsequently reacted to such anxieties through a number of measures including positioning cyber-security as a core tenet of its 2013 National Security Strategy. This, amongst other policies, will see the establishment of a new centralised cyber-security operations centre headquartered at the Defence Signals Directorate. However, despite cyber-security’s increasing status in Australia’s domestic security policies, Australia has seemingly avoided pursuing cyber-security as a primary issue of its foreign policy agenda. There have of late, however, been sporadic attempts at bringing cyber-security within the ambit of Australia’s foreign policy. For example: the introduction of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 which saw Australia become party to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, the 2011 expansion of the ANZUS treaty to cover cyber war, and a strategic partnership with Germany which seeks to “explore opportunities” for bilateral cooperation over cybersecurity, amongst a host of other issues. Overall, however, Australia has remained somewhat reticent in further entrenching cyber-security s within its foreign policy priorities the question that begs is why? The source of this reluctance may lie in the purported threat of reprisal attacks posed by
internationally based hackers, protestors and cyber-criminals should the government further pursue internationally oriented mechanisms of cyber-security. This fear was aptly articulated by ASIS Director-General Nick Warner who, in making a landmark public speech, acknowledged that: “Government departments and agencies, together with corporate Australia, have been subject to concerted efforts by external actors seeking to infiltrate sensitive computer networks.” This, according to Warner, has resulted in cyber-crime becoming “one of the most rapidly evolving and
In 2012, a survey undertaken by CERT found that over 20% of Australian organisations had been victims of cyber-crime, with a further 20% of these organisations having experienced over 10 separate incidents. potentially serious threats to our national security”. It appears however, that such fears may be well founded. In the past, Australia’s cyber-security policies have seen it become the target of a number of cyber-protest and ‘hacktivist’ operations. For example, in 2009, the Rudd Government’s internet filter proposal was met with a spate of Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks which suspended operations of the Prime Minister’s website, as well as the launching of hacktivist organisation Anonymous’ ‘Operation Titstorm’ in January 2010 which saw parliamentary e-mails bombarded with pornographic images. Most recently, the Gillard government’s data retention proposal saw the AAPT Internet Service Provider hacked and 40gb of customer data being published in July 2012, whilst the ASIO website was
subsequently brought down by DDOS attacks in August 2012. The rationality underpinning such attacks, however, should not be reduced to being mere ‘acts of hooliganism’. Instead, they stem from a widespread belief that Australia’s cyber-security measures have impinged upon a number of fundamental human rights, such as the right to free speech, freedom of information and the right to privacy. For example, the Gillard government’s data retention proposal, which aimed at curtailing cyber-crime by requiring Internet service providers to store their customers’ Communications Data for up to two years, was met with overwhelming condemnation. Anthony Bendall, the acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner, for instance, declared that the proposal “is characteristic of a police state” and is “premised on the assumption that all citizens should be monitored.” This, Bendall suggested, goes against both “the presumption of innocence which all persons are afforded” as well as “one of the essential dimensions of human rights and privacy law: freedom from surveillance and arbitrary intrusions into a person’s life.” Nevertheless, as evidenced by the surveys discussed previously, the Australian public wishes to overcome their anxieties concerning cybercrime whilst simultaneously demanding that cyber-security measures are used to support and foster fundamental human rights, rather than undermining them. Political leadership is therefore needed to pursue a balanced approach to cyber-security and human rights – an approach that would see issues of cyber-security catapulted to the forefront of Australia’s foreign policy agenda, rather than being obscured behind a fear of reprisal attacks. Therefore, if such a balanced approach is indeed adopted, Australia may be able to participate in more cohesive and cost-effective international measures to mitigate cyber-crime, devoid of any fears concerning reprisal ‘cyberprotest’ attacks. To date however, both the Government and the Opposition have neglected to discuss such possibilities.
EVER wondered what happens to that first bank account you had as a kid? Ever lost a couple of thousand dollars and wondered where it went? Well, it went down the figurative crack in the couch. In fact, down this nook, you’ll find more than the remote, a desiccated slice of pizza, some fluff, bits of this, that, and a couple of coins. In fact, you will find $1billion in lost shares, bank accounts and life insurance. All you have to do is stick your hand right down into the depths of the Australian Securities & Investments Commissions (ASIC) unclaimed money website, scramble around for a bit and pull up the details of longforgotten bank accounts. Regardless of whether you’re an individual or a large institution, the ability to be forgetful is universal. Even us (supposedly) bright ANU students seem pretty woeful at keeping track of what we lose down the crack of the couch. The ANU Philosophy Students Society misplaced $549.03 since 2002, ANU Accounts have lost $1773.90 since 2009, ANU Science Society, $192.21 since 1988, and ANUSA (tsk, tsk), $982.10 since 1989 (think of all the sausages we could have bought with that). Similarly, the ANU Historical Society, which by a preliminary search no longer exists (until the publication of this article anyway) has had $379.23 in safekeeping since 1990. This, though, is pocket change in comparison to some other lost, lapsed and left-behind bounties from other organisations. Bond University’s Taiwanese Student Association has been squirrelling away $3475.87 since 2002. But perhaps this is what the secret is for ancient institutions: the Masters, Fellows and Scholars of Pembroke College in the University of Oxford deemed it wise to leave $155.21 sitting in an Australian bank vault since 1978. A quick search for “ANU” “scholarship”, “college”, “school” and “friends of” reveals a host of groups that have too successfully hidden their gold. Like wielding a metal detector, searching geographically by place names reveals a long list of lost clubs and charities whose funds from election day barbeques, door knocks and cake stalls are waiting to be capitalized and remembered. In many ways it’s sad that this money has not been better managed or used for the purposes it was given: the unused scholarship funds especially. We can’t be too harsh: whether there was a change of staff or leadership, or the person in charge became doddery and forgetful, the fact is organizations and institutions can lose track fairly easily. Apportioning blame is also easy but not helpful; rather, this serves as a cautionary tale for student organizations with high turnovers in leadership to be both accountable and have clear transition and succession plans. If you don’t find some lost treasure after your mad dash to the computer, then take solace in the fact you’re probably organized. If you do find some lost money (it is conditional on reading this article that you shout EUREKA!) or you suspect your organization is in danger of losing some money, then I hope you’ll spend it or look after it properly. Otherwise someone else will get it, either the government or a wily impersonator (Cue: the resurrection of the ANU Historical Society).
FEATURES // 8
The Future of the Novel
GUS MCCUBBING WITH the advent of the Kindle e-reader in 2007 came a paradigm shift in the consumption of literature unseen since the invention of the paperback novel. While the origin of this new technology is largely disputed, it is safe to say that Kindle launched its popularity and the term “e-reader” into the common vernacular. Largely coinciding with the collapse of major bookstore chains— most notably Borders and, in Australia, Angus & Robertson, in 2011—electronic novels provide for a cheap and far more readily available access to literature. What we have seen lately is clearly a decline in the number of books people are buying and reading, a sentiment that was crystallized when Steve Jobs declared in 2008 that the e-reader would ultimately fail given that “the whole conception is flawed at the top” because “people don’t read anymore”. Despite Wired stating that e-books remain only 25% of the book market and thus have yet to actually usurp the printed novel, the e-book nevertheless does open the door to unlimited possibilities in the future of the novel. One cannot say whether e-readers will topple the printed novel or in turn whether tablets will usurp e-readers, the only certainty is that there is no going back now. As Jacob Weisberg wrote in Newsweek in 2009, the creator of the Kindle “has built a machine that marks a cultural revolution…Printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence.” With this numbers game in mind, one must consider how the future of the novel will be affected at its base, the publishing houses. The problem facing the major publishing houses is
known as “disintermediation”, which is essentially the removal of the middleman from business interactions. The greatest example of a writer eschewing the assistance and direction of a publisher is Hugh Howey, author of WOOL. Howey initially published his sci-fi series independently through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system, with the novel soon going viral among ereaders. With WOOL soon climbing to the top of Amazon’s science fiction best-seller list, publishers soon sat up and took notice. However, Howey resisted several sevenfigure offers for the rights to the book before settling with Simon & Schuster on a six-figure deal in which he would keep the e-book rights. It is easy to see the benefits that unknown writers who make a success out of self-publishing, like Howey, pose to publishing houses in removing the gambling element of publishing. As Laura Miller wrote in Salon, “Instead of investing their money in unknown authors, then collaborating to make their books better and find them an audience, publishers can swoop in and pluck the juiciest fruits at the moment of maximum ripeness.” On the other end of the scale, publishers in fact face a significant fall out from established writers. Evan Hughes, largely in relation to Stephen King (who recently dipped into the realm of self-
publishing releasing an essay through Amazon only), touched upon this notion of ‘disintermediation’ in Wired, “The real danger to publishers is that big-ticket authors, who relied on the old system to build their careers, will abandon them now that they have established an audience.” In terms of the reader however, e-books obviously present a drastic change in the digestion of literature. There looms a swathe of readers who staunchly detest literature taking any sort of foray into the digital age. The most ardent of all these detractors is of course the notoriously outspoken author of The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen. According to Franzen, “A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.” While he makes the case against the literature world’s embrace of technology as much as he makes himself and other e-reader detractors look like Luddites, he nevertheless champions a strong sentiment among readers that novels ought to stay as they are. Rapper MF Doom’s lyrics in “Bookfiend” showcase the broadness of this instinctive distaste for e-books, “On the low key, Kindles is phony D/ Tastes stale, see the world in shades of gray-scale/ Right there in black and white, protected by chainmail.” However Hughes also warns that e-books
One cannot say whether e-readers will topple the printed novel or in turn whether tablets will usurp e-readers, the only certainty is that there is no going back now.
threaten the ability of readers to discover new writers, “Research has shown that readers don’t tend to use online bookstores to discover books; they use them to purchase titles they find out about elsewhere—frequently at physical stores.” Though on a different note, the continued surety of the existence of e-books is yet to attain surety. The advent of a totally new form of technology opens the floodgates of imitations and developments, leaving the pioneers with little to no guarantees. The most recent example is the slew of mp3 players that populated the market throughout the late nineties, before Apple released its first-generation iPod in 2001 and subsequently dominated the field. The key here is innovation and price—if Kindle cannot keep producing products which are cheaper and more useful than its rivals’, it will inevitably fall into the waste bin of technology. Jordan Selburn wrote in the IHS’ iSuppli that the “stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry,” which is that “single-task devices like the e-book reader are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by multifunction equivalents, in this case media tablets.” In conclusion, given the lingering dominance of printed novels in the market and the personal attachment to physical copies many readers maintain, it appears that the doomsday for the printed novel may have been called slightly too early. However, while the direction the future of the novel remains completely unknown, it is clear that ultimately the e-book has irreparably changed the manner in which we consume literature.
Why are White People Always the Racists?
GARY OLDMAN ALTERNATIVE headlines: Racism isn’t one-way traffic/George Zimmerman and the hysteria of race. George Zimmerman, ironically, is not “white”. His mother’s bloodline, Hispanic mestizo and Afro-Peruvian, expresses itself much more in his phenotype than his father’s Caucasian ancestry. Yet early on, the furore surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin cast the now 29-year-old as an overzealous, intrusive white racist. Found not guilty over the weekend, Zimmerman faces a lifetime of fear and a strong likelihood of reprisal. Meanwhile, sections of America seem poised to riot. Even if most media outlets, though many reluctantly, now acknowledge Zimmerman as a nonwhite Hispanic, his trial has been exploited as a surrogate for a white-man-is-always-the-racist agenda. And to this I pose the refrain: When will we call out black racism the same way we call out the white variety? To think it does not exist, or to cloak it as an understandable reaction to America’s heavily racialised past, is inexcusable. White, black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Subcontinental, Amerindian, Pacific Islander and Aboriginal racists all exist in our world. And the ones violently acting on these impulses in America are not confined to the descendants of white colonial masters. Pre-trial, my problem was not with the possibility that Zimmerman was a racist killer, however repulsive, but the fact that society by and large had already convicted him of it a year ago. Details which softened Zimmerman’s profile, such as his past mentoring role with black youth, were hap-
The Unspoken Two-Way Street
pily discarded, forgotten or ignored. One witness, too scared to identify himself, even said that a male matching Martin’s description was on top of Zimmerman as the pair struggled on the ground. Because such interpretations challenged the ‘Gospel of Martin the Victim’, they never circulated widely. Is the point of a trial not to posit at least two theories as to what happened before, during and after an alleged crime? If Zimmerman was overzealous, why did we assume race was automatically a factor? Many, particularly those on the left, highlighted Zimmerman’s use of the word “black” to argue racial profiling had occurred. But when it came time to criticise NBC News’ deliberate doctoring of the call to make Zimmerman sound racist, few pondered whether more facts or doubts supporting Zimmerman’s innocence might exist. NBC had released an audio clip of Zimmerman saying “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” when, in fact, the “black” part came after the 911 dispatcher asked for the hooded figure’s race. And so continued a campaign of hysteria intersecting media lies, white guilt, African-American exceptionalism and a it’s-only-racist-if-a-black-guy-dies attitude. Trayvon Martin’s friend, with whom he was
talking on the telephone before he died, testified that Martin used the pejorative “cracker”, a racial epithet towards white people, when referring to Zimmerman. Imagine the verbal or literal bloodletting which would have flown if Zimmerman had ever referred to Martin as a “nigger” during his call to the 911 dispatcher and then been found not guilty. These are, once again, details conveniently buried in the sand. When Zimmerman had yet to be charged after the shooting, perennial race-baiters Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson arrived like Fireman Sam. For all their status as civil rights leaders and the good work they often do, Sharpton and Jackson et al still engage in ‘the white man is always the racist’ style of politics. One never sees them calling for hate crime or other prosecutions when a white person is attacked in a suspiciously race-oriented attack. Only days after Trayvon’s death, for example, a group of black youths allegedly beat a 78-year-old Ohio man savagely. The police report stated the assailants said, “[Get] that white [man]. This is for Trayvon ... Trayvon lives, white [man]. Kill that white [man].” Were Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on the scene after that? No, of course not. It is understandable that
When will we call out black racism the same way we call out the white variety? To think it does not exist, or to cloak it as an understandable reaction to America’s heavily racialised past, is inexcusable.
they represent the African-American community more than any other, but for them to treat potential hate crimes in a solely white-on-black vacuum is unconscionable. And this is exactly what most “civil rights leaders” do. They admirably fight for some justice but ignore others. This tunnel vision is not just the viewport of the NAACP. Eric Holder, America’s first AfricanAmerican Attorney-General, stated under congressional questioning that federal hate crimes laws are designed to protect historically marginalised minorities. What happened to the entire populace, including the nearly three-quarters of Americans who are non-Hispanic whites? It therefore still comes as little wonder that everyone still remembers LAPD beating victim Rodney King but not Reginald Denny, the white truck driver who had his skull fractured in nearly a hundred places during the subsequent LA Riots. Or the many Asian Americans whose stores were decimated by gangs of angry young AfricanAmericans in that same period. Slavery and other oppressions of AfricanAmericans were cancers that should never be repeated and the need for proper racial healing and fairness in America remains. Nonetheless, it does not excuse an unwritten cultural assumption that only whites (or their surrogates in the case of Zimmerman’s misrepresentation in the media) are capable of and engage in hate crimes. The death of an African-American at the hands of someone of a different race always contains racial overtones.
LIFE & STYLE// 10
High Fashion, High-Stake Territory
BORIPAT LEBEL IN a mysterious small hamlet no longer recognised by modern geographers – though historians concur that it lied in the mountainous region of Eastern Jura - Louis Vuitton was born in the golden summer of 1821. Young Vuitton spent the majority of his childhood surrounded by heavily wooded massifs and blue satiny lakes. Nevertheless, the rustic lifestyle proved too slow for Master Vuitton’s burgeoning taste. And so at the plucky age of 16, his ambition took him to the bustling metropolis. In Paris, he apprenticed at a workshop belonging to a lauded luggage- and trunk-maker, Monsieur Marechal. He stayed on for 17 years. During this time, Paris was artfully shaping itself as the stronghold of good taste and fashionable manners. Men wore suits and critiqued art; women donned crinoline skirts and gossiped. Polished society flirted with notions of adventure and exploration; “Bon voyage” was the word du jour. For seasonal trips to country villas or trav-
els to more exotic locations, the skills of trunk makers and professional packers were much in demand. After leaving his long-time position with Monsieur Marechal, Louis Vuitton opened his own atelier. The year to remember is 1854. Business sailed smoothly for the first four years, that is, until a prodigious game-changer blew in. His newly debuted trunk was rectangular in shape – more stackable – and covered in grey canvas – better against the inclemency. Vuitton’s artistic designs combined with the practicality of his trunks left a pleasant impression on the beholder – custodian and proprietor alike. Amongst his notable clientele was the Empress of France, Eugénie de Montijo – her husband was Napoleon III. Madame de Montijo frequently switched her abode to more enticing locales, and oftentimes called for Mr. Vuitton’s unparalleled expertise to box up her costume jewellery, and, lest we forget, her actual bijoux so she could leave with grace and arrive in style. It was through her patronage that Mr. Vuitton was able to cultivate a legion of aristocratic patrons thus solidifying Vuitton’s image as a brand of luxury and celebrity. Louis Vuitton died in 1892; he was 70 years old. The company’s reins passed to his son, Georges Vuitton. A qualified craftsman and ambitious entrepreneur, as was his father, Mr. Vuitton Jr.
shepherded the corporation to new heights. He enhanced his father’s audacious legacy – that says, elegance and functionality must endure the harshest of critics: time – by designing the company’s LV monogram. Said signature-monogrammed canvas was introduced in 1896. Mr. Vuitton Jr. determined to fight back against the mushrooming counterfeits for sale in cheap markets. Ironically, the pattern became the most counterfeited motif in fashion history. The “Monogram Canvas” was revamped in 1959. The graphics stayed, but a new stateof-the-art coating method was applied, allowing the fabric to maintain its suppleness while adding durability. In 1987, leading champagne manufacturer, Moët et Chandon, and gargantuan distiller, Hennessy, merged with Louis Vuitton to form the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH (its parent company is Christian Dior S.A.). Current CEO Bernard Arnault compared his fashion blockbuster to a “luxury Microsoft”. For a long time Louis Vuitton was not a full fashion house like its counterparts Chanel and Dior, which produced ready-to-wear and haute couture. To expand the purview of the label, Marc Jacobs – with a confirmatory nod from Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour – was installed as LV’s Creative Director in 1997.
After leaving his long-time position with Monsieur Marechal, Louis Vuitton opened his own atelier. The year to remember is 1854. Business sailed smoothly for the first four years, that is, until a prodigious game-changer...
Unlike other designers in the top job of rival
fashion houses, Mr. Jacobs had no archives to draw inspiration from. It was an adventure, one into the high-stake territory of high fashion. But like Mr. Vuitton’s game-changing trunk in 1858, Mr. Jacobs’s off-the-rack inception was a trendsetter. A series of small serendipitous lines soon followed suit, from handbags to watches and fine jewellery. True to Louis Vuitton’s reach-for-the-stars reputation, Mr. Jacobs cast full-time singer and moonlighting actress, Jennifer Lopez, in a raunchy advertising campaign shoot. This first campaign was followed by a chart of stars that epitomised the house’s much prized glamour, namely Madonna, Angelina Jolie, and international-supermodel, Gisele Bundchen. But Mr. Jacobs also perceived that the LV trademark was a winner in its arena. Thus to complement glittering faces, celebrated living-legends were drafted, viz., moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, and multi-medalled swimmer Michael Phelps. Another momentous strategy which Mr. Jacobs implemented to keep habitual and potential buyers – not to mention copycats – on their toes is via periodic collaborations with prominent artist. A successful blending of high-art and haute fashion saw an outstanding collaboration between Louis Vuitton and contemporary Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, resulting in the Multicolored Monogram bag. It should come as no surprise that production at the Louis Vuitton’s workshop is tightly controlled to maintain its track record of exclusivity. In fact demand always far exceeds supply by tenfold, and prices are never reduced, ever. Thus “liquidation” takes the cases of Vuitton on a different journey than do commonplace outlets.
So Canberra, What Even?
ROSANNA BEATRICE STEVENS
IN offices, paddleboats, libraries and student colleges around this city, a deprecating whine emits from a choir of bored derps. This discontent is a national anomaly: in no other city do people complain so much about where they live, yet continue to hang out there. It’s like the entire population of Canberra are reliving that thing which happens to the best of us a week into a new school: you end up schlepping around with a group of people who probably aren’t your friends, but on the first day you decided to sit with them because they were welcoming. Now you’ve realised you chose the crew with the kid who always wears tracksuit pants that smell like sweaty ham. Your group is the one with the kid whose parent puts a bowl on her head and cuts around it to substitute neat hair. She also picks her nose and rubs her finger on her sock with all the subtlety of a wormy cat pulling its anus along a carpet. Two of the other kids play chess. One of them is allergic to chess and plays anyway, itching her hives. What happens from here is indicative of the kind of Canberran you are. Some of you chose to stay with that group of kids because they’re actually all kind and welcoming, and although they ,mightn’t be entirely relevant to your interests, you are aware of the fact that continental drift is a great metaphor for life. It helps that your parents have told you that these kids are the ones who end up running Google, hosting shows on the ABC and doing your tax audits for free, and that the kid with the ham pants has a hard time at home. Some of you decide you have to eject yourself from the group without being a dick to anyone, so you spend lunches glancing in either direction every now and then to make sure no one sees who you’re hanging out with. Except everyone
LIFE & STYLE// 11
does. When you do find a new group, the move is immediate. In class, when your new friends crack a joke about snot socks, you chuckle from behind your pencil case and watch your classmates lean over their desks with scissors to snip her bowl hair from its straight lines. Some of you complain about the group to your parents, return to school, and sit with another group. You help the new group slap together uninventive nicknames that are somehow scarring, like, ‘Chess Brains’ and ‘Bowl Head’. You become the one who dares your new friends to spill juice on Ham Pants’ pants because his pants smell like ham and now they can smell like juice and ham. Regardless of the end scenario you’ve chosen, that collective of strange kids who welcomed you on your first day at school is Canberra. Let me tell you something about Canberra: no matter how you treat it, it’s got your back. In Canberra, you are given a provisional drivers license that cannot be confiscated or demerited if you’re caught breaking car-drivey laws in New South Wales. You can have a porno filmed in your house and you’ll be paid for it in this blessed town. All the veggies are discounted on a Sunday afternoons at Fyshwick Markets. So here’s my shtick: If one more rolly-smoking, hair-scrunching, drawling undergrad calls Canberra a shit hole, I’m going to do two things. I will hijack their Twitter accounts and irrevocably block Amanda Bynes, so they can no longer ironically follow her. I will also start a column in Woroni. One of these things just happened. Using the same two syllables to describe an entire geography and demographic is like painting an understanding of Kanye West using only the word, ‘cryptic’, or explaining Cherry Coke by saying only that it ‘tastes good’. We all know Kanye is beyond explanation because ‘middle class’, ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘rave reviews’ would never be used so synonymously with anything else. And we all know Cherry Coke tastes like the spoonful of sugar and the cheap, shitty medicine that featured in our childhoods, and Mary Poppins. This column is dedicated to replacing ‘shit hole’ with other words, so the next time someone asks you ‘So Canberra, what even?’ you are equipped to explain this strange urban country town in completely new ways, and do it justice. Get used to who you’re hanging with. Canberra’s an OK kid.
Fundraising 101 EMILY MURRAY SO, you’ve found an incredible opportunity – but how are you going to afford it? Don’t panic! There are lots of ideas you can try: 1. Scholarships and Grants Does your local council or state government offer scholarships to young people chasing their dreams? For example, young Canberrans can apply for the Youth InterACT Scholarships.
Extra Tips 1. Raise Awareness
You could write to your local newspaper or radio station. They might want to interview you about the opportunity, why you’re raising money, and how the community can help and donate. Getting the word out can increase the reach of your other fundraising plans. 2. Work in Groups
2. Donations from your Community You could ask people in your community for donations. Write a letter, explain why you’re seeking donations, what the opportunity is and why it’s important that you take part, and ask if they’re able to make a donation towards your costs. You could ask •Your Rotary Club, Zonta Club, Apex Club, Lions Club, or RSL Club •Your state, territory or federal Member of Parliament •Your school or university •Your local supermarket (IGA regularly donates to community causes)
Your fundraising efforts will nearly always be more effective if you fundraise in a group. So if you’re raising money for a soccer trip, get all your teammates together and plan a group strategy, divide the tasks, and keep each other accountable. 3. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Don’t just focus on one idea, because this one idea might not work! Instead, try out a range of fundraising ideas. Think of the best way to approach each donor, and don’t treat all your potential donors the same. 4. In-Kind Donations
3. Crowdfunding You could create a crowdfunding campaign at StartSomeGood or Pozible. StartSomeGood fundraises for social projects of all kinds, while Pozible focuses on fundraising for creative projects. These crowdfunding websites let your friends and family pledge money to help you achieve your goal. You can make a video explaining why you’re asking for money and name simple gifts to reward your donors. Crowdfunding campaigns often raise amounts like $5 000, and have even raised over $100 000! 4. Fundraising Events You could organise a social event for your friends and family that also raises money for your cause. For example, your friends and family could pay to attend your art exhibition, a dance, a concert, a trivia night, a fancy dinner, an auction, a talent night, or even a murder mystery party! You could raffle or auction some prizes donated by local businesses.
If you’re running a raffle, an auction, or a crowdfunding campaign, ask local businesses and community groups for in-kind donations. Inkind donations of goods or services. For example, if you work at a jewellery store, ask your manager if the store could donate an inexpensive piece of jewellery to as a prize for someone who donates money. If you volunteer with a first aid group, ask your coordinator if they could donate a first aid course. The local pizza store might be willing to sell you pizzas at cost price for your fundraising event. You also might be in luck if you ask a new business for an in-kind donation, because new businesses are often keen to promote themselves in the community. 5. In Return
Donations are a two-way relationship. It’s nice to offer your donors something in return. For example, you could visit them once the opportunity is over to tell them about your experience, you could publicly thank them, or you could wear clothing with their logo on it. And always, always
LIFE & STYLE// 12
Scandinavia: A Flawless Veneer?
WE’RE having a real Scandinavian moment right now. Nordic thrillers have been piling up on the bestseller list since the Steig Larsson’s frozen murder mystery Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, H&M is colonising Western malls and Ikea has somehow succeeded in reversing the comfort evolution of civilisation, taking us back to the Dark ages with it’s hard disapproving chairs and D.I.Y approach to home furnishings. Let’s turn now to geographic achievements: 2011 marked the centenary of the Norwegian explorer Ronald Amundsen’s winning the race to reach the South Pole. Art wise, 2012 saw Edvard Munch’s mystical drawing The Scream sell for a humble $120 million at a Sotheby’s auction, and socially, everyone is suddenly obsessed with minimalism and the organised culture of cleanliness which radiates from Copenhagen. Though best of all, Abba’s “Man After Midnight” is still number 6 on my Top Played playlist. Enough said. Scandinavia is Europe’s Canada – the gentle giant of the north. It’s a collection of countries we can’t tell apart; whose flags are colour variations of the same pattern and whose Royal families are interchangeable. Scandinavia has long been held up as the paragon of a decent evolved society. In a survey of enviable smugness, Scandinavia would come first. Copenhagen is apparently the best city in the world to live in, Finland has a better educa-
tion system, fewer fat people and more beautiful women per capita than the rest of the world, and Norway is just super rich. Scandinavians enjoy paying some of the world’s heftiest taxes because they like their cosy welfare state that provides the best healthcare, childcare, retirement homes, jails and mental institutions available on this side of heaven. Mothers get generous maternity leave – 16 months per couple in Sweden and for the sake of their perfectly adjusted kids, fathers too are required to take at least two of those months. Scandinavians have managed to attain the highest standards of living while maintaining a low differential between rich and poor. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to throw up your Swedish meatballs and give every blueeyed blond kid a wedgie, then consider that they are the only humans in history who have managed to divorce nudity from sex. Young and old of every gender and proclivity can nakedly sauna, roll in the snow and skinny dip with seals without the faintest leer or vain concern for subzero shrivelling. However there is a darker side, of which is the fact that they have quite a high suicide rate - though the Scandinavians dispute this, claiming that they are just more diligent at collating their mortality stats. Also, the average winter temperatures range between negative 10 and negative 30 degrees, the meagre year round rations of sun-
light. Also, Scandinavians may charitably love the Third World but apparently they despise one another. The nations share a hostile history of occupation, famine and murder. Good thing the rest of world history is all unicorn picnics with rainbows and fairy bread. Still, we all feel this compulsion to be more like them because out of Scandinavia comes the cold, cleansing gust of fiscal and social cohesion. They prefer rehabilitation to punishment and they open their doors to refugees. They are never judgemental about social stumbles, abortion or illegitimacy. They throw confetti over gay and inter-racial marriages. However, I think there is more to their flawless veneer. They are much more stern about impropriety, they come off a bit formal and seem easily shocked. They are welcoming but mysterious and reserved, and they manage to live with this dichotomy without suffering under the contradictions - because it’s actually really practical. I don’t get Scandamania, or navia, or whatever, and I don’t know why the lifestyle there is so magnetic. It’s all very pragmatic and fair - what’s the fun in that? What’s life without a pinch of inequality, a sprinkle of asylum seeker troubles and a dollop of recession? I fear that if I pack my bags and move to Scandinavia, life would be mundane and lego-like - and I hate lego.
Green Man NITYA CHHIBER SO you were motivated enough to think he was the one? You realised that he allowed you to see certain aspects of yourself you thought you never possessed. But did you realise that he is not pursuing you any further because his work is done? He picked you because he knew that you needed to be opened up. He picked you because he wanted to be seen as invincible in your eyes. He picked you, not because he felt any attraction per say, but just so that he could feel that he did have the power of never being forgotten in your eyes. In fact, maybe you just had the fortune of meeting a green man in disguise. From what I have gathered, the myth of the green man is one that depicts a male figure in green and is associated with the season of spring. He is attributed to allowing one to get in touch with the more feminine side of things, which during the course of history has always been much less emphasised. After all, how many times have we felt that we must act like a man to get somewhere in the world, which in some cases could be true but in most cases there is an overall sense that for one’s overall well-being, it is necessary to take it slow, and to truly enjoy the pleasures of life. However, most importantly, in terms of relationships, he is known to actually allow the woman to carefully balance out the male and female parts of herself in the image she portrays herself to the world. By the way, for all those who want to learn about the green man image, read “Psyche and Eros: Mind and Gender in the Life Course” by Gisela Labouvie-Vief. So he swooped in, opened up the locks to parts of yourself you thought you didn’t possess. He made you feel more wholesome as a woman. He gave you a taste of the possibilities that arose from within you and which you never even knew existed and then when he went on his way, you had no choice but to tap into the aforementioned possibilities. So even if you parted ways, you did learn a lot about yourself through him and for that you are eternally grateful. Now, it is up to the rest of the human race to wait and see as you unleash your previously unseen side. He did his job and now it is your turn. There is no point in moaning for what could have been possible with him because my dear, he has given you something better than that which is the ability to see yourself in a new, albeit, scandalous fashion. He has unleashed that woman you were so scared to show but after meeting him you realised that with a bit of tweaking here and there, the inner woman is not so scandalous after all. So smile because it happened and if you ever have such an encounter, I will be envious because, when you both part ways, you won’t end up feeling rejected but you will like a brand new person.
WHAT YOUR REPS THINK
Aleks Sladojevic - ANUSA President
Olivia Clark - ANUSA Social Officer
Arjuna Mohottala - PARSA President
Which event are you most excited about?
What inspired this year’s theme, Survival of the Fittest?
What’s it like being a postgraduate student during Bush Week?
I’m hanging out for the Art Battle on Friday night at 6pm in Student Space. We had an ArtsFest in O-Week this year and the talent demonstrated by our Arts students was out of this world!
Sadly nothing too exciting. We thought of all the events we wanted to run and then tried to fit them around the theme. We worked with Shan Crosbie, a student from the Arts School to come up with a good visual representation of the theme and voila!
Bush Week is lots of fun! As a postgraduate student you will meet other students and together you will explore the various services and activities available at ANU. You will build professional networks that will be carried throughout the years.
Do you have any advice on enjoying the perfect Bush Week? Which event are you most excited about? Keep warm! It gets cold in Bush Week so rug up in some thermals and we’ll do our bit to keep you warm too with hot food and a warm space to hang out (Student Space). What’s your best memory of Bush Week? All of it! I love Bush Week because it really livens up that first week of class especially when battling with Canberra’s winter elements. It’s such a great way to kick off the semester. What’s a quintessential Bush Week experience? Crash a Country Pub! We live in the nation’s capital yet we’re fortunate enough to be only minutes away from a good ol’ country pub. This event ran last year and it was so much fun. Get a group of friends together and come join us for a beer and some country vibes at 6pm on Thursday in Union Court.
Battle of the Bands. This is the first time ANUSA has run a band night and we are really excited to see all the amazing ANU talent. College bands have a chance to perform at their Big Night Out and we thought it was about time that everyone else had a go.
Do you have any tips/advice about how to enjoy the perfect Bush Week? Attend events relevant to you, get involved in clubs and societies that are of your interest, meet other students through social events, and be an active participant so you can gain from what Bush Week has to offer.
Do you have any advice on enjoying the perfect Bush Week? What’s your best memory of Bush Week? Come to all the events and take advantage of the free food. Mingle with the new (babin’) exchange students and don’t get stuck in Gundaroo. What makes Bush Week 2013 special? Gemma, Georgia and Nick, the Bush Week directors.
My best memory of Bush Week is the PARSA barbeque. Being new to ANU I was quite overwhelmed, however, the barbeque gave me the opportunity to meet new students in a quiet and relaxed environment. I felt really welcomed and was touched by how friendly and easy-going everyone was.
A BLAST FROM THE PAST Racist, Charitable Origins... BEN LATHAM THE annual Bush Week is upon the students at the ANU once again. No, not the lapse in body hair maintenance that occurs during the cold winter months, but the week-long festivities that signal the beginning of second semester. To say the least, Bush Week has a colourful history, inspiring daring, boisteroius acts by students often immortalised in the front-page headlines of The Canberra Times. But what are the origins of Bush Week? Woroni (at the time a periodical published by the Canberra University College Students’ Club) reported the first Bush Week in 1960. Students Robert Reece and George Martin were the masterminds behind the week’s activities, seeking to take the city to the bush and celebrate the traditional but forgotten customs and values of Australian heritage. As explained by Martin to Woroni in 1961, “the Australian ethos faces a black future. National customs and traditions recorded as early as the 1930’s are fast being submerged under the debris racially and culturally in-of numerically superior but inferior nationalities.” Woroni explained their plight as “a vocational duty to restore this folklore of their forefathers to its pristine beauty and primeval originality.” In the eyes of Reece, Bush Week was “essentially a spontaneous outburst of national feeling of the purest mystical and spiritual nature.” By the end of the week, Reece and Martin hoped that students would have learnt how to be Australian.
The Common Room was the venue of the first annual Bush Week in 1960. Details of the organised events are scarce, although it was reported that Reece led a discussion with sixty students titled “Are You a Dinkum Aussie?”, while a figure only known as the TUMBARUMBA TEETOTALLER presented a public lecture on the “morals, ambitions and discomforts of the rural working class”. Apparently events such as cigarette rolling, the ladies’ nail drive and the walkabout were cancelled due to rainy weather and lack of support. The week, however, ended with a bang; a hundred and forty students from all corners of the ANU attended the Bush Ball, with dancing, an endless supply of alcohol, and at least one or two good old-fashioned brawls. In 1961, Woroni declared Bush Week as the “Most Important Event of the University Year”. Reece and Martin were again at the helm, and initially planned a series of events with an Aussie twist: guessing competitions like “How many banksia men in the beer barrel?”; public lectures about “The cretin as a social problem in country towns” (with live specimens on display); and, for the womenfolk, post-hole digging, mia-mia making and timber clearing. From these, however, only the public lectures, presented by Reece and Martin, eventuated in the official schedule. In this same Bush Week, however, there was the notable addition of a day-long excursion to the regional Queanbeyan town of Bungendore, seen as a crusade to the very shrine of Austral-
ian nationalism itself, the first in a long history of Bungendore Pilgramages, A Woroni news article describes the keg-filled fun had by the thirty hooligans who made the journey, including a march to Lake George and a sing-song of Australian tunes, featuring a solo item performed by Robert Reece – the self-proclaimed Bungendore Bushranger – himself. The crew had to cut their adventure short, however: they caught the 5pm train back home to attend the Bush Ball, which was again the conclusion of the week’s frivolities. By 1963, Bush Week was an established, annual tradition, akin to Foundation Day or Commemoration Day celebrated at other universities. A member of the Students’ Representative Council, which had commandeered the festivities from Reece and Martin, argued that Bush Week was “the only tradition ANU has.” A new face, Bruce Donald, was the head organiser, describing the week as the “climax of the University year. The time when we break out and run riot.” Greater numbers made the Bungendore Pilgramage, while the Bush Ball was omitted from the week’s activities in favour of a parade of floats throughout Civic. The organisers also encouraged students to undertake their own stunts and pranks, perhaps inspiring the raid of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Bush Week was also seen as a light-hearted alternative to W.U.S. Week. Many students of the ANU were strongly involved with the World University Service, an international organisa-
tion that, in cooperation with agencies of the UN, sought to alleviate poverty and promote education in third world countries. At the beginning of second semester, the ANU would hold a week of fundraising and charitable activities to raise money for W.U.S. initiatives which, in Australia, were sponsorship of the Aboriginal Scholarship Appeal and promotion of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme. In W.U.S. Week 1961, held in the days leading up to the second Bush Week, events included a Mr. University Competition, picketing toilets and charging admission, auctioning female students and lost property, and selling hot soup in the Common Room. W.U.S. Week at the ANU has since faded, but Bush Week, although initially conceived for fun and hooliganism, dually sought to raise funds for charity. In 1961, Reece and Martin dedicated all proceeds to Abschol, a committee of the National Union of Students created to support university scholarships for Aboriginal students. The charitable nature of Bush Week endured for much of the tradition’s history, ostensibly a week of fundraising that provided “the perfect excuse for student hilarity”, according to the 1963 orientation guide. However, Professor Burton, inaugural principal of the Canberra University College (now ANU), protested that Bush Week “gave an opportunity to the exhibitionist and the hooligan under the hypocritical façade of raising money for charity”.
...but a Colourful History ADAM SPENCE BUSH week is a relatively timid affair nowadays, but there was a time when it was something more. A time when it was an infamous part of Canberra’s cultural calendar, when ANU students could shut down city streets and, for better or worse, their exploits were front-page news. For a time, it served as a flash point for ongoing tensions between ANU and the Royal Military College at Duntroon. In 1963, students heralded the start of Bush Week by painting a hop-scotch court on Duntroon’s sacred parade ground, before hoisting a swastika up the flag pole. Cadets retaliated by capturing several law students, giving them new haircuts, and using permanent ink to label them ‘Army property’. Tensions deteriorated further the following year. Again students struck first, setting a car alight on Duntroon’s parade ground, before breaking into and trashing the cadets’ living quarters. The retaliation was swift. Within half an hour, 150 cadets were marching up University Avenue to Bruce Hall, chanting along the way. No reports from the time say what they were chanting, but it’s safe to say it wasn’t Kumbaya. The cadets destroyed doors, windows and furniture, and used fire hoses to flood students out of their rooms. Two Canberra Times journalists covering the mayhem, whose photographs graced the following day’s front page, were assaulted. Realising the growing danger, an amnesty was declared in subsequent years. Students and cadets even swapped places one day annually, to try
and improve relations. The law has had to deal with a variety of Bush Week stunts. In 1965, Police launched an investigation when the annual scavenger hunt saw students break into the Australian War Memorial, taking seven paintings by William Dobell, worth $1.4 million in today’s currency. The paintings were soon found in the ANU library, though not before generating national headlines. Bush Week scavenger hunters often set lofty targets. In 1968, Police caught two students on the roof of Parliament House’s Senate chamber, trying to break in and steal a chair (presumably the President’s). Appearing in court, the students pleaded for a lenient penalty, explaining that the best of Bush Week still lay ahead. The judge replied, “I had better take my leave then.” Both students were fined. In the seventies, students set their sights higher, literally, managing to break into and steal several bells from atop the Carillon in 1970 and 1977. On one occasion, Bush Week’s antagonism of the law was more direct than usual. A number of students walked into a police station wearing overalls and carrying toolboxes. Presenting officers with what appeared to be a Commonwealth work permit, the ‘electricians’ were allowed to disassemble and remove the station’s neon sign. When it wasn’t returned, officers went searching, eventually finding it had a new home in the ANU Union building. It wasn’t the only time police were fooled by a
Bush Week stunt. The short lived (and purely parodic) Canberra Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan once staged a fake abduction outside the Monaro Mall. The ‘victim’, none other than Sekai Hove, was in on the joke. Men dressed in trademark white robes bundled her into a car and sped off. They were soon halted by the sound of sirens; a police officer who believed he had witnessed a genuine abduction. Not everyone has fallen for Bush Week pranks. When 200 prominent Canberrans and journalists were invited to an art unveiling at the Hyatt, only 9 people turned up. There was, of course, nothing to see, and perhaps misspelling the name of the famous philanthropist on the invitations tipped off the potential guests? Students did hold an art show that night, but it’s wasn’t at the Hyatt. Instead, a contemporary installation was mounted atop the Academy of Science’s famous Shine-dome. The piece was by the lesser known artist Caroma. Some Bush Week activities have had deeper meaning; float parades highlighted controversial social and political issues of the day. One ANU Science Society float more than any other caused controversy, protesting religious influence on birth control. A woman wearing a fake baby bump and a man in Church vestments threw what purported to be contraceptive pills to the public along the route, as students wearing togas writhed on a giant crucifix nearby. This was at a time when distributing contraception was re-
stricted to chemists and years before the ban on promoting contraceptives publically was lifted by the Commonwealth. For all the pranks, Bush Week has always had a wholesome side too. Activities raised many thousands of dollars over the years for Canberra charities. In 1970, the ANU Evangelical Union attempted to set a new world record in Garema Place for the longest bible reading, the record at the time being 704 hours. And in ‘79, students who were surely concerned with animal welfare freed the fish from the University House pond. Though for some reason, they only made it as far as the staff water coolers…Oh. While some Bush Week traditions have faded, the pub crawl hasn’t. This year, it’s Gundaroo, but in earlier days, it was all aboard buses, cars (which often returned to Canberra on the wrong side of the Kings Highway) and even trains to Bungendore. It seems students of yesteryear had a little more trouble holding their liquor. Publicans once stopped service at 4 – that’s 4PM – only two hours after students arrived, by which time bar owners had lost about as many glasses, windows, chairs, tables, and even fireplaces, as they were willing to. Not that they were too upset. Publicans boasted that they’d made more than enough money in that short time to cover the damage. Which is why ANU students were welcomed back year after year…debauchery and all.
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The Most Colossal Movie of the Year
human race constructs a series of giant robots, the Jaegers, which are piloted by pairs of human WATCH // MOVIE beings. The Jaegers fight the monsters, and the Pacific Rim battles are big and spectacular. Some other charGuillermo del Toro acter-driven stuff happens underneath all of this 2013 as well. For an apparently momentous film, this might VINCENT CHIANG all feel rather simple. The simplicity, however, is REVIEWING Pacific Rim is an interesting exercise the point: Pacific Rim does not bother with any in aesthetics. The film is not at all sophisticated; it pretence or complexity, and instead unleashes does not feature a marvellous script, overflowing upon its audience two hours of pure, robot batwith bountiful poetry. The acting is not particu- tling action. Unlike with Transformers, there are larly wonderful, and the narrative, though com- no annoying teenagers played by Shia Labouf adding “comedy” to the film. There is no gratuipelling, is hardly the work of a master. And yet, I would be willing to declare that Pa- tous sex appeal. There isn’t even an awkwardlycific Rim is the most significant film to be released enforced Hollywood romance (something that I this year. It will not trounce the box office, and was particularly thankful of towards the end of it certainly won’t be the film that people hold in the film). There is just extravagant, literally aweesteem for the coming year’s Oscars. It will, how- some giant robot combat, a visual spectacle that ever, be the film that remains a cult classic – it will, matches up to every fanboy’s dreams. Well, maybe not. It would be slightly reductive in fact, be the film this year that leaves the deepest to say that the film only features robot action. As impression on the history of film. already mentioned, there is a human dimension A relatively straightforward sci-fi premise unto Pacific Rim as well: Charlie Hunnam plays Raderlies it all. In the Pacific Rim universe, the world leigh, a washed up ex-Jaeger pilot who finds himis under siege by a race of monsters, known as self, against all expectations, embarking upon the “Kaiju”. To combat this colossal threat, the one, final, giant robot mission. Complementing
him is Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, an aspiring woman pilot wishing to join Charlie for the sake of revenge (against the Kaiju, who killed her family). Neither character is quite Prince Hamlet, but it is nevertheless refreshing that Kikuchi’s character in particular) are compelling and believable, complex enough to intrigue us and make us care about them. Rounding out the human side of the film up are a number of other, supporting Jaeger pilots, the pilots’ commanding officer, and a pair of scientists. The cast is colourful and quirky; again, it lacks complexity, but it is more than sufficient to sustain the intermissions between action sequences. Speaking of intermission though, that’s the thing again. The core of the film is always the action, the spectacle of Jaeger against Kaiju, humanin-robot against monster. Like any artistically significant work, Pacific Rim knows exactly what it is doing, and doesn’t stray away from its singular purpose of unveiling a stage of theatrical battles, full of drama and passion and gusto. That is why the film succeeds. It also succeeds because the battles themselves are incredible. The film’s first action sequence begins in a dark ocean, where the audience sees a monster threatening a miniscule human boat,
ready to do all sorts of awful things to the powerless human sailors. And then crash – along comes the Jaeger, rescuing the boat, before beating the monster away again and again with tremendous blows of the fist. The camera, the lighting, the sound, the CGI – all of it combines to immerse the audience in a thrilling battle between good and evil, between the human and the inhuman. It is literally epic – in proportion, and in the intensity of feeling that it inspires in the audience. Pacific Rim will last the ages because it attempts one thing and attempts it well. For a generation of mecha Anime fans, brought up on Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion, this film succeeds far beyond the league of Bayformers in presenting brilliant, powerful mecha action. But for the human race at large, what this film does is more than cancel the apocalypse of terrible, overly-saturated and mismanaged sci-fi in the industry: what it does is mark a singular moment, where humanity’s spirit is raised to a new, transcendental plane of sensual and aesthetic apotheosis. We grow witness to giants, and for the duration of the film, become giants ourselves in our wonder.
REVIEWED// 22 Man of Real WATCH // MOVIE Man of Steel Zach Snyder 2013 TARA SHENOY MAN of Steel is the newest entry in our ongoing obsession with superhero epics. It follows the coming-of-age of Superman, as he resolves the conflict of identity between being Earthling and being Kryptonian. True to its genre, it is an operatic illustration of destruction and mayhem as entire worlds are torn apart. The opening scenes on Krypton are magnificent. A spectacular extra-terrestrial geography of volcanic surface and bizarre dragon-like creatures becomes a vision of apocalyptic prophecy, consumed by fiery explosions. It is here that an overarching question arises as to the significance of autonomy. Jor-El asked, “What if a child dreams of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?”. As per David S. Goyer’s screenplay, no Kryptonian is permitted to choose their own destiny. Their vocations are assigned at birth within their individual test tube pods. This means that Clark, as Krypton’s first natural birth, is already special. He is a symbol of hope, intrinsic to human survival. What really sets Man of Steel apart from the previous Superman stories is the humanity of Clark Kent. Historically, the steadfast righteousness and extraordinary powers of Superman made him boring, unrealistic and inaccessible. Man of Steel subverts the traditional archetype of the messianic figure to allow for fallibility and, thus, a more powerful representation of the human condition. Before the monolith of red-blue spandex and perfect hair, this is a glimpse into the confusion and internal struggle of an adopted child. In adolescence, he reads Plato, gets angry with his father and is clearly uncomfortable with swallowing his pride when bullied. As a man, he is nomadic, changing jobs as he explores Earth, stepping out of the Christ-like shoes fashioned
in 1930 by the character’s creators – two Jewish teenagers in Ohio. His classic hero’s journey is a universal and very human quest of self-discovery. Spoiler alert – interestingly, it is the subversion of the old central thesis, that Superman cannot take a life, which gives this film a foothold in controversy. When he snaps Zod’s neck, the purists gasped, exclaiming at the vulgar rebuff of the moral compass that is fundamental to his character. However, Hancock and Watchmen have already demonstrated a shift from kitsch to urban realism, emphasising a new distaste with godly integrity. Contemporary recognition of subjective morality suggests that the obligation ascribed to Supermen to protect the weak has to be more nuanced. Critics have largely disparaged the film while the public have generally enjoyed it. This discrepancy could be due to the deviation from the 1978 adaption of Superman by Richard Donner, as well as a critical bias against Zack Snyder’s hyperbolic cinematography in Suckerpunch and 300. The former premise attitude, however, would be unjust, since the Christopher Reeve Superman is an interpretation of the comics as per his zeitgeist, while the Henry Cavill Superman reflects a different responder. As to the latter complaint, in a culture of instant gratification, high intensity mega-action scenes are almost an essential narcotic. On a practical note, the man from Krypton is not your average vigilante. To visualise an alien that is faster than a speeding bullet and can leap buildings requires hyper-real CGI that would be redundant for another superhero. To be sure, Superman and the Kryptonians do drag each other through one skyscraper too many, the transformation of determined Lois Lane to damsel in distress is a problematic and gendered treatment of women, and the movie is a tad too long. Nevertheless, from my vantage point in front of the big screen, I was moved, not just by Cavill’s bulging pectorals, but also by a poignant and refreshing revision of the Superman story.
Shakespeare meets Whedon WATCH // MOVIE Much Ado About Nothing Joss Whedon 2012 ROBERT SELTH JOSS Whedon filming a Shakespeare? Much Ado About Nothing, no less? With a cast drawn almost entirely from the staples of his (excellent) television work? The very idea of it was enough to induce paroxysms of giddy euphoria in people of a certain demographic when news of this project first appeared. Now the wait is finally over, and the much-anticipated treat is at last showing in Australian cinemas. And it does not disappoint. It’s probably not what you expect from Shakespearean comedy, and it may not be what you expect from Joss Whedon. But it’s a true delight. Much Ado About Nothing is shot in sumptuous black and white, and filmed entirely in Joss Whedon’s equally sumptuous Santa Monica home. Everything in it is beautiful – every frame of stylish grey photography, every room and garden of this lovely house, and every actor who graces the screen. The men stand around in sharp suits and ties, the women in flowing, delicate dresses, and they look every bit as poised and perfect as the lines of poetry in which they speak. This is a film with class and coolness to spare. There’s not much depth to it, but Much Ado About Nothing was never one of Shakespeare’s more profound comedies. Whedon makes it a play of gleaming surfaces and sexy, effervescent wordplay; and that’s all it needs to be. The heart of the film lies in the chemistry between Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker as Benedick and Beatrice, who channel the latent sexual tension at the basis of their relationship into a neverending contest of wits. Both actors are superb: Denisof is colder and more overtly cynical than most Benedicks, yet endears himself to us nonetheless; while Acker delivers perhaps the film’s best performance, subtly balancing a spir-
ited self-confidence with just the faintest shade of underlying insecurity. Whedon is clever enough to add a wordless opening scene in which Benedick leaves Beatrice’s bed in the morning after, we presume, a one-night stand, so that from the outset their verbal sparring carries an extra layer of subtext. Meanwhile the impending marriage of Claudio (an appropriately naive Fran Kranz) to Hero (Jillian Morgese), who is the daughter of the host and master of the house, Leonato (Clark Gregg), is put in jeopardy by the suavely villainous Don John (Sean Maher). It is a testament to Whedon’s success in transposing a sixteenth-century story to the modern day that when Claudio becomes enraged and repulsed by the idea that his brideto-be is not a virgin, it only feels slightly unbelievable. On hand to inadvertently set things right is a team of security guards led by the faultless Nathan Fillion as Dogberry. In a film that generally goes for the cool and charming rather than the laugh-out-loud funny, his scenes are the glorious exceptions: he is hilarious in every moment. Like the muchloved Kenneth Branagh version of twenty years ago, this Much Ado About Nothing is, in spite of its darker twists, a light and sensuous experience. Yet where that film found sensuality in the warmth and vivacity of its Sicilian setting, this is a film of sensuous interiors, of style and chic delivered in icy black and white. Don’t see it for the comedy – it’s not designed that way. See it for the simple pleasure of hearing Acker and Denisof deliver those sparkling lines of verse. See it to rest your eyes on its seductive visuals and listen to its gorgeous musical rendition of “Sigh No More”. Whedon and his friends made this film in secret over just twelve days while he was making The Avengers, and it’s hard to imagine they didn’t derive great pleasure and satisfaction from taking time off their more challenging projects to make a film like this. See it, then, in the same spirit in which they made it: as an indulgence, as a relaxing, beautiful treat.
Everything in it is beautiful – every frame of stylish grey photography, every room and garden of this lovely house, and every actor who graces the screen.
REVIEWED// 23 A Failed Gaze at the Gaze on Gillard hit the shelves on 2 July, less than a week after the Rudd resurrection. Unfortunately this shines through every time that Walsh implies Rudd will never return. The repetition of phrases and simple copy-editing errors aside, the structure of the book is painfully unfinished. It reads like SAMUEL GUTHRIE a summary of a work IT should be obvious, even to the casual observer, journal, a chronothat there has been something tangibly different logical series of perabout Australian politics over the last three years. sonal observations Many words will be written in the attempt to and opinions, rather dissect, analyse, and understand the Forty-third than a considered, Parliament of Australia, and the oft-quoted “new self-aware piece of paradigm”. Kerry-Anne Walsh, a twenty-five year work. For those still veteran of the Canberra press gallery, has been unacquainted with quick to release her effort, The Stalking of Julia the last three years, Gillard – a self-reflective analysis of the internal it would make for a and external forces which assaulted Gillard’s fascinating introduction, but for the political junkprime ministership. It may be a good read, and ies amongst us there’s nothing new here. It’s a a fascinating – but fleeting – glimpse inside the pity that Walsh and/or her publisher, Allen & Unpress gallery, but a definitive, nuanced under- win, decided to rush the book into stores, because I believe the framework for a deeper discussion standing of the last three years it is not. Walsh’s text suffers from a number of critical of the relationship between politics, government, flaws, the clearest of which is the obvious rush and media lay a couple of drafts in its future. Critically, there is another vital flaw at the with which it was finished. Originally slated for heart of Walsh’s argument, particularly in her release mid-August, The Stalking of Julia Gillard
READ // BOOK The Stalking of Julia Gillard Kerry-Anne Walsh 2013
assessment of Kevin Rudd and the press gallery. Reading The Stalking of Julia Gillard, you could be forgiven for thinking that between 2007 and 2010, Australia existed in stasis, nothing was achieved, and a megalomaniac, hated even by his own party, ruled the land. Compared with David Marr’s 2010 Quarterly Essay on Rudd, Walsh makes no effort to understand or comprehend the man. She describes him as self-absorbed, selfish, vindictive, and impish, and Gillard his binary opposite. Rudd returns to the backbench to ply his media weapons, journalist connections, and ALP saboteurs in unison against his successor. While I too believe Rudd plotted against Gillard, I find myself neither surprised nor infuriated. Rudd is, after all, a politician, and even politicians feel vengeful. Indeed, there are two very human shaped holes at the heart of the text, robbing Rudd, and particularly Gillard of any empathetic comprehension of their character. Politics, after all, is an inherently human pursuit.
For those still unacquainted with the last three years, it would make for a fascinating introduction, but for the political junkies amongst us there’s nothing new here.
The Stalking of Julia Gillard is a particularly media-focused work. Walsh’s consistent claim is that it was political journalism, mainstream media, and shock jocks, which did the visible damage to Gillard. She is heavily, and rightfully, critical of the recent developments in political journalism, especially the newfound subservience to “inside sources,” and the lack of independent, critical reporting of policy. Walsh pays particular attention to Peter Hartcher, Michelle Grattan, and Paul Kelly, but everyone gets their turn. But what should have been an opportunity for constructive criticism of an industry in crisis, has instead been utilised to present a three hundred page list of savage, sarcastic observations. What I was hoping to see when I came to a book subtitled How the Media and Team Rudd Contrived to Bring Down the Prime Minister was more of the “how,” the root causes and their effects. It isn’t until the epilogue that Walsh even turns her mind to the meaning of polling and the twenty-four hour news cycle. If you’re looking for a definitive discussion of the Labor Government, or a surgical analysis of the 21st-century journalism, this isn’t it.
Photo: Micaiah Koh
From Rubens to Bootlegs few. Sometimes it will be brilliant, sometimes disappointing. And there will always be something not quite right. But good music is out there - all we have to do is find it. On the well-publicised end was The Rubens’ brief excursion to university for their guerrilla gig in Union Court and evening concert at ANU Bar. Performing for an audience largely composed of absconding school students following Facebook tipoffs, The Rubens put an acoustic spin on a couple of hits off their self-titled debut album. Working with the limitations ELLEN TREVANION that come from playing in Union Court, I would like to report that I spent the break in they brought out and front of a fireplace, cosily wrapped in my doona, emphasised the air of drinking tea and rereading War and Peace. That gentleness and vulnerwould, however, be rather misleading. Instead, ability which pervades the album. As the VMusic I have spent many an afternoon and evening in promotion reveals, they also set a few underage concert halls, local churches and gloomy pubs in hearts aflutter. Their gig at the ANU Bar that night search of the warm glow of musical excellence. I was, however, a very different beast, revealing see you start and hear you exclaim in surprise. the extent of their inexperience and lack of coheBut yes, this can be found in Canberra. Somesion as a group. In “Be Gone”, a musically exemtimes it will be promoted and talked about, someplary guitar feature was rendered unremarkable times it will be hidden away or known only to a by the decision to play it while standing in the
corner of the stage hidden by a large speaker. ‘Paddy’ was marred by what appeared to be a miniature civil war between the rhythm section and the guitar. As drummer Scott Baldwin had managed to double the tempo in about two minutes, guitarist Zaac Margin was forced out of the shadows to stand in front of him and keep time. There were, however, flashes of brilliance. ‘Don’t Ever Want to Be Found’ featured a tambourine player pulled from the audience (a plant I suspect) and immediately electrified the entire refectory with an urgent, commanding drive and firm beat. The real highlight, however, was Sam Margin’s flawless vocals and undeniable presence on stage. Indeed, I was unexpectedly treated to some of the best falsetto I’ve heard recently. The Rubens have a lot to learn and a lot of improvements to make but they do have extraordinary potential. Much less publicised, and much better, was a little set at a Phoenix Bootleg session by Alex Richens, Joel Davies and Nick Churchill. I’ve written many a feature about Bootlegs before and it’s true
Sometimes it will be brilliant, sometimes disappointing. And there will always be something not quite right. But good music is out there - all we have to do is find it.
that they are sometimes less than impressive. On some nights, however, they are wonderful value (free) and extremely enjoyable. Singer and guitarist Alex Richens is the main writer in the group, producing a range of songs which draw on folk, roots, jazz and bluegrass works. Although lovely in themselves, it is the addition of Joel Davies’ cello that renders them unique. Bringing jazz influences through an occasional walking bass and more classical ideas in long, mellow lines, it balances the sweet, soft vocals. The recent addition of Nick Churchill on drums adds further depth and a fantastic drive to the group, particularly in the more up-beat, jazz and bluegrass inspired pieces. As with most groups in this genre, there is a slight tendency to both lyrical and musical self-indulgence and most of their pieces would benefit from tighter, disciplined editing. Overall, however, they were enjoyable to listen to and wonderful to watch. We keenly await the release of their first EP later in the year. So there you are. A couple of gigs, one by a wellknown group and one by a group that is less than six weeks old. One that disappointed and one that surpassed all expectations. Canberra is a strange place. Welcome to our music.
SCIENCE// 25 Falsifying Ockham’s Razor
MICHAEL ROBINSON “PLURALITY must never be posited without necessity.” - William of Ockham People prefer simple solutions to problems. This is pretty obvious – it takes less unnecessary hard work. So, does this idea apply in science? Welcome down the rabbit hole of the history and philosophy of science. Ockham’s Razor is a hugely influential heuristic (rule of thumb) in science. The Razor provides a way to decide between competing explanations that are equally supported by the evidence at
hand. It suggests that the favoured explanation is that which posits fewer variables. However, science is not often ‘simple’. How do we translate this position to science? This is where ‘falsifiability’ comes in, a concept made famous by Karl Popper in The Logic of Scientific Discovery. For a hypothesis or statement to be scientific, there must, in theory, be a way to disprove it. The famous example is “all swans are white”, which can be disproved by the discovery of a black swan. By inductive logic, no amount of white swans can prove this statement; it is supported until a single black swan is found. Falsifiability alone does not, however, reduce possible explanations to one. Competing theories may all be falsifiable, thus scientific. Having established that swans can be black or white, we propose three competing ideas: 1. All swans are either black or white. 2. All swans are either black or white, but location determines which. 3. All swans are either black or white, but
location and the season it is determine which. Having taken samples from Australia and England to test these hypotheses, you would see that all statements are supported, but number 2 has an extra variable, and 3 has two. Strict application of the Razor would suggest you accept hypothesis 1; it is the simplest description of the situation. However, the extremely strong correlation between location and swan colour suggests that 2 is also acceptable. In this case, you decide that the ‘simplest’ hypothesis is the weaker, because it has less explanatory power. That is, even though clearly swans are either black or white (hypothesis 1), the black swans are all in Australia, and so hypothesis 2 suggests an explanation determined by geography. What about hypothesis 3? Well, seasons are dependent on location, and so the seasons variable is superfluous, regardless of how well supported it is by the results. We take hypothesis 2 and move on, because
The Razor provides a way to decide between competing explanations that are equally supported by the evidence at hand.
that result has thrown up new hypotheses (e.g. around species and location) – the very fodder of science. Thus science aims to explain, rather than simplify. Ockham’s Razor is really about how to prefer an explanation, rather than about the most simplistic explanation. Sometimes the best explanation is very complicated; the point is that it is no more complicated than it needs to be to do the necessary explaining. Many ‘conspiracy theories’ fall foul of the Razor for this reason; they introduce extra variables without improving the explanatory power. The non-conspiracy hypothesis can explain all the evidence. Things get interesting when a contradictory result is found by a new experiment. Does it really falsify the hypothesis, or should we modify the hypothesis? Should hypotheses be ‘backward modified’ like this to explain new data? Doesn’t this contradict everything I’ve just said? How the hell does science really work? This will be a tale for another day, when we meet people like Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos, and encounter the anarchist, Paul Feyeraband. Michael blogs at traversingtherazor.wordpress. com
It’s Not What You Know JARROD GREEN THE stunt will be familiar to most: a petition calling for urgent regulation of a widespread and potentially dangerous chemical known as dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). It’s a greenhouse gas and the primary component in acid rain. In some cases skin contact with DHMO causes serious burns. Will you support a ban on DHMO? It’s no secret that ‘DHMO’ is water. Nonetheless, TV and YouTube pranksters continue to find new signatories to DHMO petitions. Stunts like this are held up as anecdotal evidence for the sorry state of scientific literacy in the general population. While these pranks are nothing more than (barely) amusing stunts, they do typify an enduring concern that people don’t know enough basic science. Many surveys attest to the public’s seemingly lamentable levels of scientific knowledge. A 2010 survey by the National Science Foundation in the U.S found that just 52% of respondents correctly answered that the Earth takes one year to orbit the sun. A similar proportion wrongly agreed that antibiotics were effective against viruses. While performance on individual questions has varied, the average total score has hardly changed since the survey was first administered in the late 1980s. The results of a nationwide survey re-
leased by the Australian Academy of Science last week tell a similar story. Surveys designed to measure scientific knowledge can have serious flaws. Consider a statement found in one such survey: “sunlight can cause skin cancer.” Is this statement true or false? This may depend on what you understand by the term ‘sunlight’. While exposure to UVA and UVB radiation increases the risk of skin cancer, exposure to the visible component of sunlight does not. It might sound like nitpicking, but the ambiguity of statements like this means that even (or perhaps especially) someone who knows the science can get the question ‘wrong’. A study by ANU researchers Sue Stocklmayer and Chris Bryant found that even scientists answer these questions ‘incorrectly’. Scientists actually performed worse than the general public on two questions and in other cases they expressed
disapproval and uncertainty. Findings like this cast serious doubt on the utility of knowledge surveys. It’s not just a matter of improving survey instruments either. Such surveys operate on the assumption that measuring public science knowledge is indeed useful. They are guided at least in part by what has been termed the ‘deficit model,’ a view that supplying people with more science information will lead to greater support for scientific research and resolve debates on scientific issues. A typical deficit argument reads something like this: If people understood more about climate science then they would support action on climate change. Research suggests that this is not the case. In a study of climate change attitudes in the UK, Cardiff University researcher Lorraine Whitmarsh found that educational attainment and
Many surveys attest to the public’s seemingly lamentable levels of scientific knowledge... In each case the message is clear: it’s not just what you know but what (and who) you value.
self-reported knowledge were not associated with climate change scepticism. Instead, scepticism was strongly predicted by political and environmental values. Similarly, Yale University researcher Dan Kahan and his colleagues found that climate change attitudes in the U.S were most polarised among respondents with the highest scores for numeracy and general science knowledge. In each case the message is clear: it’s not just what you know but what (and who) you value. Albert Einstein also seemed to recognise that scientific debates may not be about science at all. In a letter to mathematician Marcel Grossmann, Einstein famously remarked that “every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political affiliation.” Improving general science knowledge is not a panacea for socio-scientific issues and debates. Of course, recognising a disconnect between knowledge and attitudes doesn’t make scientific knowledge redundant - far from it. What the research tells us, however, is that improving scientific understanding will only ever be part of a much larger conversation about values and relationships. Now that’s something worth knowing.
ELEANOR CAMPBELL Frankenstein’s Yeast An international team of researchers is assembling all the genetic ‘parts’ required to build a new strain of yeast from scratch. These artificial yeast cells could be used to make biofuels or devise new medical treatments. The designer yeast is due to be completed by 2017.
Antimatter Matters Scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have detected antimatter particles streaming away from the sun during solar flares. The team were able to measure positrons (the antimatter equivalent of electrons) in the flares, using a technique that they hope can be applied to the study of other astronomical objects.
Advances Against Breast Cancer A drug currently in clinical trials for treatment of leukaemia may prove effective in combating breast cancer too. The drug targets a protein called BCL-2 that helps breast cancer cells survive other treatments. Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne have found that this drug increases the effectiveness of hormone therapy against tumours.
Dielectric Future Scientists at the ANU have developed a material that can act as a highly efficient energy storage system. Research led by Associate Professor Yun Liu and Professor Ray Withers identified the new material, which could eventually be used in supercapacitors; tools for the storage of huge amounts of energy. This kind of storage capacity would be invaluable to the development of effective renewable energy sources.
Koalas Have the Power In this month’s cutest research, scientists at the University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland have found a new method for determining the effectiveness of mine rehabilitation: koala-tracking. By radio-tagging koalas and following their movements, ecologists can check whether attempts to restore old mining sites to their original environmental quality have been successful. The picky koalas will determine what factors contribute to a well-restored area, and inform policy around such rehabilitation.
Pill Popping for the Mind EVA PILLAI AS demonstrated by the uproar with Lance Armstrong and the AFL drug scandals, our stance against the use of performance enhancing substances in athletics is fairly clear. However, the views on popping mental performance enhancers are quite mixed. In many top universities the world over, campus inhabitants are consuming nootropics (substances that enhance cognition and memory) or abusing prescription analeptics and drugs like Adderall. There are claims that these substances improve concentration and memory, giving users a much-needed mental edge, particularly in periods of high stress. Many would ask how this is different from consuming copious quantities of caffeine or guzzling a can of Mother to pull an all-nighter. It is necessary to declare a conflict of interests at this juncture: my wallet is full of café loyalty cards. That said, caffeine, like other stimulants, comes with jitters and crashes. Stimulants enable one to stay alert longer but do not increase mental performance. Hence, the coffee-addict does not quite fit in the same category as the person self-prescribing Ritalin tabs. Momentarily stepping away from the intricacies of how these substances work, why do we have such an issue with doping? Many people have concerns with doping going against the ‘spirit of the game.’ Doping confers a certain level of advantage to a select group with access to the substance, skewing the playing field in their favour. As the playing field skews, the pressure to ‘keep up’ increases. People gifted with better mental acuity, for example, who do not opt to ‘augment’ their performance will be no different from an average individual consuming enhancers. This creates a coercive pressure to start taking brain boosters, paradoxically for parity, lest we be left behind. The matter of equity aside, access is another controversial point. At present, students who opt to take brain boosters acquire them via a number of means. Precluding those with genuine neuropsychiatric conditions that require treatment, some people get prescription cognitive enhancers by faking symptoms such as trouble sleeping, jet lag and so on. Another option would be to filch a stash of an actual patient’s medication: not too difficult to do if one has a roommate or family member with a legitimate prescription. There are also patients who opt to sell their prescriptions or meds to desperate seekers. Then, of course, there is the Internet. One could just order an overseas consignment. All these methods of
obtaining brain boosting substances raise a host of socio-ethical dilemmas in themselves. Questionable means of access aside, without a proper prescription, one must face the considerable danger of non-optimal dosing of active ingredients and with online orders, the risk of illegal (and potentially harmful) substances being included. One way around the matter of dodgy access would be to advocate for unrestricted availability of these drugs. If they were legally accessible, the onus would be on the Therapeutic Goods Administration to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of the substances. Hence, consumption of these cognitive enhancers could be made less dangerous. A better working brain may, after all, bring about the cure for cancer or a more efficient way of harnessing green energy. Thus, the consumption of cognitive enhancers could arguably be more easily justified than doping in sports. Moreover, does it not become a question of personal autonomy? The decision to enhance our minds may not be all that different from the decision to enhance our bodies. Since these brain boosters are already widely available, informed use would seem a better choice than ignoring their presence in the market and their increasing use. Furthermore with the right legal policies in place, the potential for abuse could be mitigated. Whilst acknowledging the potential benefits of mental performance enhancers, it is important to recognise that the long-term consequences of consuming these drugs are not well known. The risk of addiction and other physiological imbalances have not been adequately studied. The current population of mental performance enhancer consumers are non-representative of the general public. They tend to be university students, young executives, and academics: groups that are immersed in high-pressure situations that may require higher than average levels of mental acuity. Hence, the results are likely to be skewed by the sample population studied, even without accounting for potential placebo effects of these drugs. This still begs the question of normalising the use of such enhancers in the first place. Have we become a society that prizes winning at any cost? More prevalent than the pressure to win is the pressure to constantly achieve excellence. Adequacy no longer seems sufficient and the bar is continually being raised. It may be necessary for us to re-examine our lofty ambitions and recognise that the quest for success should be accomplished healthily, in every sense of the word.
Can we Invent Our Way Out?
tFOR the first time in three million years, the con-centration of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosrphere has surpassed 400 parts per million. This -scientific fact lends itself to the belief that the sworld is headed for irreversible climate change, dprompting many to consider a drastic plan B: geoengineering. s Geoengineering – the deliberate large-scale ymanipulation of the planetary environment to ecounteract human-induced climate change – may -allow the human race to seize control over the yplanet’s climatic system. e Plan B offers the prospect of humans engineer-ing their way out of climate catastrophe. It’s an gattractive idea, but is it wise to open a potential yPandora’s Box of stratospheric proportion? - Schemes like whitening clouds with microscopeic particles to deflect the Sun’s heat sound so ‘sci-fi’ it hurts. Some more serious strategies rely on ltechnology that is currently available and can be s o s d e -
f t f e r l g y l d t e g e y sDANIEL CRAIG s IN a world where everyone seems to be quoting r scientific research to support their argument, I’ve - often stopped to wonder, what has science ever - done for me? I’m sure the ANU science faculty would have a long list of answers as to the advances in medicine, technology and transportation but if I think long and hard enough, each of those developments is negated by something else: Penicillin and superbugs, cars and car accidents, smart phones and naked pictures of Paris Hilton. I mean come on; even Einstein’s theory of general relativity has come under fire. So I went searching. I figured there must be something that science has found, that other science hasn’t tainted yet. The research uncovered things I never would have expected.
quickly deployed. Two prominent geoengineering technologies include ocean iron fertilization and sulfate aerosol spraying, both of which have a scientific-commercial standing. So, can we be certain that, even after research and small-scale testing, these technological solutions will work as planned? Ocean fertilization – the spreading of iron slurry across the upper ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide – would mean changing the biological balance of the seas. The process will affect marine food production and cloud formation. Likewise, injecting sulfate particles into the stratosphere would temporarily cool the planet by filtering the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface. However, the impact of this strategy on the ozone layer and weather systems is largely unknown. And who has fingers on the climate’s big red button?
Research efforts are centred in the United States and Western Europe. Some geoengineering projects are relatively inexpensive and simplistic enough to be untaken by any midsize nation, or even a single billionaire with grand ideas; Bill Gates has been funding geoengineering experiments for several years. Perhaps the greatest risk in dabbling with geoengineering is that it undermines the incentive to cut carbon. It alludes to a future where there is no need for a tax on emissions, nor a need to change our unsustainable behaviours. It allows us to contemplate the possibility of using industrial infrastructure to counteract the negative impacts of industrial infrastructure, instead of shifting to a sustainable solution. Instead of inventing a new world, perhaps we should learn to live better on this one.
What has Science Ever Done for Me? world... (cue music and singing fish.)
was just me). The fact of the matter is we grew up with germs. These days, thanks to antibiotics 2. Women choose men based on smell (listen to me, it sounds like I grew up in the 40’s), rather than penis size. Dettol and hand sanitizer, everyone is afraid of germs. What people don’t realise, despite InANU researchers released a paper that went ner Health Plus ads constantly telling us, is that global, talking about how women prefer a big- the human body is full of bacteria: 1 quadrillion ger dong. But gents, before you go dropping your cells worth, give or take a few. Babies depend pants to attract the ladies (and potentially get ar- on breast milk for their dose of healthy bacteria, rested) research has found that the female body which alone can contain up to 700 species. So, innately ‘sniffs’ out a man’s genetic compatibility, unless you’ve been playing with dead kittens or and those with the most pleasing musk are bet- faeces, put the Aquim away and give your body ter candidates for having healthier offspring. So a chance. before you go waving it about, think about getting 5. That infidelity is genetic your stink on. 3.
Cheating is wrong. I just wanted to put that out there before the hate mail started bombarding Take the back of your hand and stick your my letterbox (if you want to send it, address it C/I remember that fateful evening, sitting and thumb out. See the two tendons popping out that Justin Bieber). However, a Swedish scientist (not staring into my mashed potato as I realised what form a triangle between your wrist and your first to be mistaken with the Swedish chef) has found recessive genes meant to me. My unrequired thumb knuckle? Science has lovingly labeled that that there is an allele (gene variation), 334, that inlove and lifelong commitment to Ariel (the lit- space the “anatomical snuff box,” because people terferes with a neurochemical called vasopressin. tle mermaid) was wasted as I wouldn’t be able used to have the habit of sniffing powdered tobac- This chemical is associated with monogamous to save her kind. No, not mermaids (I became a co from it. Now I don’t condone tobacco use, but pair bonding. So now if you ever get harassed by marine biologist for that) but redheads. We know I’m sure storing a little salt there for next time you the Cheaters Detective Agency from reality TV, that only 1% of humans are redheads, but science meet with Jose Cuervo would work just as well. you can blame your parents for the bad genes. has shown that 4% of humans carry a copy of the So, maybe I shouldn’t be asking what science 4. Germs. gene that makes redheads. You could be a carhas done for me, but rather what I can do for scirier and not even know it. So could your partner. ence? Unless, of course, I find a redheaded gerI grew up in the generation where kids played maphobic adulterer who likes hung men, then Two redheads are unlikely to make a brunette, but two brunettes can make a redhead. So that outside. We got dirty (with dirt), muddy and even science better run for cover. means that Ariel will continue to be part of our suffered gravel rash on our eyelids (maybe that 1.
Redheads aren’t dying out.
The Anatomical Snuff Box.
Spiders ELLEN RYKERS On average, you swallow eight spiders in your sleep every year. WHEN I was little, a classmate informed me of the horrifying fact that every year, on average, I consumed eight spiders while sleeping. That’s right; every single one of us, while dozing in dreamland with mouths agape, are inadvertently swallowing spiders. This is a thought that has haunted me ever since. I had enough nightmares about spiders simply crawling between my sheets, and now I had to worry about these hairy black creatures abseiling down on their spindly threads into my mouth? And oh my god what if the spider was poisonous?! Thankfully, I’ve since learned that this fear is completely unfounded. I am here to tell you, my friends, that the so-called ‘fact’ of swallowing spiders while sleeping is complete and utter nonsense. This urban legend spread far and wide in the early 1990’s thanks to a magazine columnist, Lisa Holst. Ms Holst wanted to demonstrate that people would believe anything they read on the internet or in an email. She was certainly proven correct. So why is this spider-eating story so false? Let’s approach the problem as scientifically as possible, by analysing the numerous scientific studies that look at this phenomenon. Oh wait, there aren’t any. It’s such an unlikely event in the first place that it isn’t worth studying. Why the hell would a tiny spider approach the mouth of a gigantic predator that could squish it in a second? The answer is that it probably wouldn’t. Even if a spider were bold (or stupid) enough to approach a big scary human, you’d probably feel it tickling you and immediately wake up. If it did happen to infiltrate your mouth, you’d definitely feel it on your highly sensitive tongue. I’d argue your first instinct would be to spit that hairy little monster out, not swallow it! Another red flag suggesting the inaccuracy of this spider-swallowing nonsense is that several versions of this ‘fact’ have been floating around. One of these claims that we eat on average one pound of spiders in our sleep over our lifetime. That’s over 450 grams of spiders, which when we consider most house spiders range in weight from a few milligrams to a few grams, is a lot. Not very likely, I reckon. You can now rest easy, with the assurance that your sleeping self is safe from the objectionable practice of unintentional spider ingestion.
When the Going Gets Tough, our Bowlers Get...Batting?
ANY supporter of Australian cricket will know that this is a tough time to be a fan. The golden years are far behind us and we must grow accustomed to losing, in the midst of another Ashes series, even against the intolerable Brits (no matter how difficult that may be to swallow). I’ve channeled my distress and angry yelling at the TV into something productive, digging through archives of recent test scores to explain our cricketing woes in numbers and statistics. What I’ve discovered can be aptly summed up thus; our top order batsmen suck. The test matches I’ve analysed are those during the time period since Ricky Ponting last held the number three batting position for Australia; After Ponting (A.P. – similar to A.D., but signifying the death of a messiah, rather than the birth). This encompasses the present day back to the first test series in which Ponting was officially demoted down the batting order, against South Africa in November 2011. The current, uncompleted Ashes series has been left out. During A.P., Australia has fielded eight different batsmen in the number three position, collectively averaging 23.3 runs. Compare this to Ricky Ponting, who in the number three position averaged 60.0 runs from a total of 196 innings. What happens to an innings when you take out a dependable, rock-solid number three batsman, and replace him with a miserly 23.3 runs? The top order collapses. To measure the extent to which Australia’s top order has crumbled, I’ve looked at the number of runs scored between Australia losing its first wicket and losing its third - let this value be named Runs Between First and Third Wicket; RBFTW. The RBFTW across all of Australia’s 38 innings during A.P. is a disappointing 53.1 runs. This
means that after Australia’s opening partnership is broken, the number three and the rest of the top order are only able to pile on a half-century before the opposition dangerously breaks into the middle order. Note that this value is regardless of the extent of the opening partnership or the innings total; against South Africa in November 2012, Australia were 0/43 before collapsing to 3/55, but incredibly went on to score 550; against India in January 2012, Australia were 0/214 but fell to 3/242, and only went on to score 369. During this time period, Australia has played in seven series, including three wins, two losses and two draws. Unsurprisingly, Australia’s lowest average RBFTWs across a series are during its two losses against South Africa (0-1) in 2012 and India (0-4) in 2013; 33.2 and 44 runs respectively. Interestingly its third lowest series RBFTW was recorded during its whitewash victory against India (4-0) in 2011/12; 47.8. During this series Shaun Marsh, first drop, scored an appalling 17 runs from five innings. How did the 2013 Ashes series begun for the Australian top order? Well, terribly quite frankly. In the first innings of the first test match, the RBFTW was only three runs, far worse than any other innings recorded in A.P. In the second innings, the RBFTW was a higher (but still disappointing) 40 runs, even after following a solid opening part-
nership of 84 between Watson and Rogers. Underperforming number three batsmen have led to top order collapses that have then put intense pressure on the rest of the batting line-up to perform. Luckily for Australia the arrival of A.P. has coincided with the coming of age of Michael Clarke, the world’s leading run scorer in 2012, and the pre-retirement purple patch of Michael Hussey. With Clarke only scoring a duck and 23 runs in the first test, however, Australia’s going to need a lot more than a middle order revival to win the Ashes back. In short, they would need a miracle, which is exactly what Australia’s tail provided in the first innings. Agar, at number eleven, clawed the Aussies back into the match with a record-breaking 98 runs (the highest score of a number eleven in history), partnering up with Hughes to put together the highest recorded 10th wicket partnership, 163 runs. Agar has been named an “Ashes hero,” but what has been extremely understated in recent years has been the incredible contribution of Australia’s bowlers to scrape the innings to a decent total. To measure the bowler’s batting performance compared to the top order batsmen we will look at whether more runs were scored for the fall of the first three wickets or by fall of the last three wickets – let this value be named First
With Clarke only scoring a duck and 23 runs in the first test, however, Australia’s going to need a lot more than a middle order revival to win the Ashes back. In short, they would need a miracle, which is exactly what Australia’s tail provided in the first test.
Three Versus Last Three; F3VL3. During A.P., the first three wickets fell for more runs in 14 innings, while the last three wickets fell for more runs in 15 innings. In nine innings, however, the last three wickets were not required to bat or did not fall; for fairness’ sake we will count them as a half-victory for the batsmen. This leaves us with the top order batsmen winning in 18.5 innings and the bowlers winning in 15 innings, a F3VL3 value of 18.5:15 or 1.23. However, again if we remove Australia’s two whitewash victories against Sri Lanka and India, Australia’s top order begins to look at lot more depressing. We’re left with series against relatively tough or even-matched opposition, and now the first three wickets fell for more runs in nine innings, while the last three fell for more in 12 innings. There are five innings in which the last three wickets didn’t fall, giving us a F3VL3 value of 11.5:12 or 0.96. Astoundingly, this means that, during A.P., in a majority of innings against difficult opposition, the final three batting partnerships have outscored the first three; a better score might have resulted if the batting order was flipped on its head, and the Australian bowlers were sent out to bat first! In these same innings, five times a bowler has been Australia’s highest run scorer; Peter Siddle three times and Mitchell Starc twice. In the 2013 Ashes the trend continues; Agar’s 98 was the standout of Australia’s first innings. When the going gets tough, the bowlers get going while the Australian top order get out and go sit quietly in the change rooms. Batsmen are chosen to score runs while the bowlers are chosen to take wickets; for Australia, however, this might no longer be the case.
AFL House Must be Strong in Time of Crisis
FOR many years those high within AFL House have boasted proudly about the integrity and unequivocal success of Australia’s native game. They’ve sat back in their leather chairs at AFL House and heralded a record breaking $1.253 billion TV deal, an annual attendance of 7.375 million people and the expansion of the game into the rugby league heartland of Western Sydney and Gold Coast. To put it simply, the state of the game has been in a superlative condition for the past decade. We as football supporters have had very little to complain about. Prior to this year, we’ve really only grumbled about the constant tinkering with the rules, the inconsistencies of the match review panel and lopsided fixtures. In short, the issues we’ve been concerned about are miniscule when we compare the issues that face other sports. Furthermore, AFL House has governed a league that has produced commercial results that Australia’s other sporting competitions could only envisage in their most wild dreams. Thus AFL House deserves much credit for continuing to ensure that Aussie Rules remains the most closely followed and supported game in the country. Unlike the NRL, we’ve experienced few problems with alleged match fixing, poor crowds and major salary cap rorts. However 2013 has been a spectacularly disastrous period for the AFL. Scandal after scandal, it has thus far been a year that will be painfully unforgettable by those involved at AFL House. The AFL has been confronted with problems that have required bold responses to ensure the game’s integrity remains strong. Unfortunately, AFL House has failed to deliver the resilient leadership demanded by these critical issues. AFL House’s leadership was first brought into question in February when it delivered a rather mystifying penalty to the Melbourne Football Club over alleged ‘tanking’; a term used to describe teams deliberately losing matches to gain higher draft picks. Tanking has been an issue that for too long AFL House has refused to acknowledge. However, after months of public scrutiny, the evidence became too much for the League to a continue to have their heads buried in the sand of the Greek Islands – a setting where AFL Chief Andrew Demetriou is currently seeking refuge in. Why Demetriou takes his holiday leave during the AFL season is beyond me but this timing can be a debate for another day. One did not have to be a football aficionado to see that the Melbourne FC was unmistakably not playing to win games of football in 2009. It was not until a couple of years later when former Melbourne players started admitting to tanking that AFL House decided to finally open an investigation. However despite issuing a $500,000 fine to , the club and handing down suspensions to Melbourne’s football manager and former coach, the AFL bizarrely did not find the club guilty of tanking. If Melbourne did not deliberately lose matches (like the AFL wants us to believe), then why was the club punished? The AFL found that despite Melbourne playing to their upmost potential in the 2009 season (laughable to all spectators), they engaged in ‘conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game’. So in following the AFL’s logic that Melbourne did not tank, questions arise how did the club act against the reputation of the game? There are several other clubs who have been accused of tanking, most notably Carlton in 2007. However, the AFL did not take the issue seriously enough and instead rather preyed on a weaker
target in Melbourne. The AFL used Melbourne as a scapegoat and a warning to other clubs tempted by tanking – a problem that the AFL has created through its own rules rewarding teams who consistently lose. This is why the penalty was so manifestly absurd to all involved. However, the game’s integrity was put under greater threat earlier this year by a different and far more confronting issue – performance-enhancing drugs. Football supporters’ faith in the integrity of the game has been greatly shaken by the Essendon drug scandal. How could Essendon carry out such extensive drug practices for an entire season without the AFL being made aware? And more importantly, why has the AFL taken so long to act? The revelation of the Australian Crime Commission Report was the day football supporters lost their innocence. Until then, supporters largely had unwavering faith in the integrity of the game, believing that performance-enhancing drugs belonged in Le Tour de France, not the AFL. It has since emerged that Essendon players were administered the anti-obesity drug AOD9604 – a substance not yet approved for human use and banned under the WADA code. More recently, fresh allegations have arisen that some Essendon players were administered the peptide, Thymosin beta 4 – a higher banned drug than AOD-9604 under the WADA code. Last week 2012 Brownlow medallist, Jobe Watson, made the startling revelation that he had been administered AOD-9604. The AFL now has little choice but to strip Watson of the Brownlow medal - the most prestigious individual award issued to the best and fairest player in the game. Surely the award cannot be given to a player who had been injected performance-enhancing drugs? However, the AFL has so far refused to comment on the issue. Legendary coach, Mick Malthouse, describes the AFL House’s silence as “disturbing”. “This is a time when people from the AFL have to stand up and show real leadership, not let the back pages hang out there and murder a player from Essendon or Essendon themselves. Let’s get some clarity on issues,” Malthouse pleaded. In fairness to AFL House, through conducting a joint investigation with ASADA, it does not have complete control over the length of time it is taking for a conclusion to be reached. All supporters are justifiably concerned about the possibility of Essendon competing in the finals series in September. What if Essendon wins the premiership (a distinct possibility with the club sitting 3rd on the ladder) after taking these drugs? The ‘what ifs’ are unquantifiable and equate to the AFL House’s worst nightmares. Thankfully AFL House has slightly appeased these concerns by promising in recent days the investigation will come “to an end with ASADA in August and prior to the finals series.” The entire sporting public, not just the football world, will be watching the AFL’s final response in August to the Essendon drug saga with great interest. The AFL must resist the temptation to strike secret deals with ASADA (as some have reported) to protect the reputation of the game and more specifically, the Essendon Football Club. In handing down any penalty, the AFL must do so with the game’s integrity at the forefront of its mind. It must have zero concerns about commercial or Essendon FC interests. The purity of our game is too important for AFL House to this time neglect.
They Came. They Roared. They Left.
effort of Halfpenny to only miss a handful of kicks all tour, a truly inspiring effort, but such a tour should not be heralded as a best yet when apart from the second half of the final game, the difference was how good two men out of thirty on a field could kick a ball through posts at varying distances and angles. I am not denying that to play the Lions as a rugby player would be up there with highlights in your career, as any professional player would attest. However when, with the exception of the Brumbies and to an extent the Reds, a superior side decimated the Australian provinces and once-off teams, the benefits must be considered. Take for example the Western Force, the first Aussie side to face the tourists. The Force played ZACH MACKEY the Lions on the Wednesday, and even in a brave IN the aftermath of the Lions tour we have just display went down 69-17. Four days later the experienced, heralded as one for the ages for Force fronted up to the Waratahs and once again Australian rugby, I’ve been left wondering, do were defeated 28-13. And all that fans got to see we even care? It is a massive sign of respect for were internationals running over provincial Southern Hemisphere rugby that the giants of the teams in a result as obvious as death and taxes. In north band together in a “super team” every four saying this, the Brumbies stood up and shook the years to try to beat us, but personally I would pre- status quo being the victors 14-12 in a display that fer to see an ANZAC team head over to the British left all Aussie rugby fans jumping and yelling for Isles. In saying this though, every twelve years joy in pubs and lounge rooms around the world. when the Lions do land upon our shores, rugby This was the first time since 1997 that a Lions side in Australia does receive a boost, akin to the 2003 have lost to a provincial side, and the Brumbies World Cup, which can only be good for our sport. should be well and truly proud of themselves. As much as I have been left with this feeling For a series that promised so much free runof ambivalence towards the Lions, I can never ning rugby; two New Zealand coaches facing off, see the tours stopping. The Lions coming is too a series beginning with a game against the Barmuch of a cash cow for the ARU coffers and the barians, hyped up talk of a running based Lions Australian economy. An estimated 30,000 plus and a glimmer of hope from the Australian provBritons followed the tour to Australia, bringing inces; the rugby watching public were left severean estimated $137.64 million into the Australian ly disappointed. The Australian backline couldn’t economy. Money made through advertising, merhave spelt the word “attack” if it were a second chandise, tickets and anything associated with grade spelling bee and the touring Lions won on the tour is too enticing for a country to deny, and the boot of their Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny. even though I might not care about the Lions, the I am in no way taking away from the incredible big wigs do. Give me a Bledisloe series any day.
OUT & ABOUT// 30
Photography: Ross Caldwell, Isabella Lee, Micaiah Koh, Ben Coughlan and Sam Bradley
...and What is To Be
Tuesday 23 July Woroni Bush Week Party The Woroni Offices 6pm An Evening with Jason Alexander and His Hair Canberra Theatre Centre 8pm Friday 26 July Airbourne ANU Bar 8pm Poetry Slam The Front Gallery and Café 7:30pm Saturday 27 Swing into the Sixties ANU Bar 8pm Dick Diver Transit Bar 8pm Australian Chamber Orchestra – Barefoot Fiddler Llewellyn Hall 8pm
Photo: Janis Lejins
Sunday 28 A Loss for Words The Basement 8pm Monday 29 Canberra Songwriters Workshop The George Harcourt Inn 6:30pm Tuesday 30 Satyros Comedy Ice-Breaker Smith’s Alternative 7pm If you would like an event advertised in Woroni, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Horoscopes with the Retrograde Mystics Libra (September 23 – October 22) Your indecisive streak makes itself known in the next few weeks. Several times you find yourself standing at the counter of the Burmese Curry place dithering, unsure whether to choose the combination 2 and 8, or 4 and 8. It’s a tough life. Learning to cook may alleviate this serious first world problem.
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21) You might accidentally discover that your significant other has a serious predilection for Taylor Swift. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t know they were trouble when they walked in, but we advise that you leave and never, ever, ever get back together.
Leo (July 23 – August 22) Uranus may have gone retrogade this month, Leo, but try not to let this make you an ass. You feel even more assertive than usual, but make sure that you don’t try to ram your ideas down other people’s throats. Constantly petitioning your mother for extra money may seem like an excellent way to impress her with your indomitable spirit – unfortunately she won’t agree and your financial situation may deteriorate. A mid-week stroke of luck could score you a free meal at Zambreros, but you’d best get yourself a job anyway. In love you will find yourself surrounded by a number of potential romances. Certainly not all of these options will be appealing; just don’t let your brutally honest nature lead you to detail all of his or her flaws – no, you don’t need to tell her about her crooked teeth or him about his small penis. On a positive note, that indomitable spirit you keep mentioning to your mother? It might result in a small improvement in your grades. Ps makes degrees! Virgo (August 23 – September 22) Now is not the time to abandon your soft-spoken nature. By forcing yourself to ‘participate’ in tutorial discussions, you may find yourself becoming that annoying arts student with all the opinions. Stick to your usual ‘ironic’ hipster apathy. It makes you look smarter.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21) While drunkenly chasing rabbits around campus might seem like a great way to prove your daring nature to your friends, this isn’t the greatest of looks. Especially when one of the rabbits inevitably bites you and you’re forced to run away, screaming in pain. Rabies will be easier to deal with than salvaging the remains of your reputation.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19) Your responsible nature may take the backseat when you meet a Harry Potter enthusiast on Lonsdale St. You share a coffee, trade theories about Hermione and Harry’s subtextual romance, and somehow wind up in their four-poster bed. While we won’t judge you if you have kinky roleplay sex, keep it down for the neighbours who don’t want to hear how close you are to “wingardium leviOsa”.
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18) Your maniacal desire for world domination may persuade you that singlehandedly organising a coup of ANUSA is an essential stepping-stone to achieving your goals. We’d advise you not to storm this Bastille if only because there are much more powerful organisations in the world for you to co-opt and impose your radical Marxist ideals upon. Hello, Parliament House.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20) Poor compassionate Pisces. We know it’s hard to turn down those charming British charity workers who lurk outside Maccas to ambush you at your weakest moments, but saving starving African children, worldwide water resources and whales, just isn’t within your Uni student budget. If you want to eat it’s time to invest in some tinned soup and learn how to say, “No.”
Aries (March 21 – April 19) In the next few weeks many opportunities are coming your way. You can either finally complete the Daley Road Challenge or have fulfilling sex with a potential romantic interest. Our advice? Make your O-week dreams come true.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20) While doing a shit in the Chifley bathrooms you may suddenly be struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration and feel the need to unleash your inner pen warrior. Just make sure you don’t write anything too unoriginal – naming the person you fucked in the bushes on Daley Road is best saved for an angst-ridden journal.
Gemini (May 21 – Juno 20) You may find yourself in the uncomfortable position of being woken up in the middle of the night by strange noises from your residence’s study rooms. Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you – it’s probably something you don’t want to see or something that will leave you uncomfortably aroused.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22) An upcoming assessment may yield unimpressive results and you might feel severely disappointed. While attempting to manipulate your tutor by demonstrating your HD blowjob skills may seem like a good idea, this is guaranteed to land you in a sticky situation.
CROSSWORD HARRY LAWLESS
ACROSS 2. When the ages of a husband and wife are added up, it comes to 91. If the husband is twice as old as the wife was when he was as old as she is now, How old is the husband? (5, 3) 4. old-timey promiscuous woman (6) 5. 17th letter in greek alphabet (3) 7. Beyonce’s youngest daughter (4, 3, 6) 10. youtube song where the guy keeps moving away from the mike (9, 4) 11. The slang of a sub-group within society (5) 12. Charmeleon evolves into... (9) 14. hot spring (6) 16. Tom Hank’s ‘friend’ in Castaway 17. Vietnamese currency (4) 18. British Conservative (4) 19. object/animal given spiritual significance (5) 20. someone who attacks respected figures (10) DOWN 1. Gandalf’s sword (9) 3. Glorified Arts degree (13, 9) 6. 1164 in Roman numerals (6) 8. disease you can get from ticks (4) 9. error of speech revealing subconscious feelings (8, 4) 13. Greek island and coveted scholarship (6) 15. Understood by few (8)
The first Woroni reader to correctly finish the crossword wins two complimentary tickets to Dendy Canberra! Take a picture of the finished crossword and post it to the Woroni Facebook page for adjudication.
BACK PAGE BACK PAGE BACK PAGE If a Quiz is Quizzical
you are worried about getting maximum booty after an inevitable winter’s sexual hibernation, so I have made you a social calendar for this week that will implement your unique quirkiness for maximum sexual return at every student event*. Monday Oops! Accidentally run into acquaintances in the bookshop carrying a stack of Kaftka, Murakami and post-modern poetry. When asked what course they are for, blush and reply they are just passion projects. Repeat as required.
HARRY LAWLESS General Knowledge
CAT OF THE EDITION
Frankiepolitan is a guide to love, lust and dating for the modern pixie girl who would like to conceal the fact that these are the only subjects she actually wants to read about in a magazine. Readers who feel pressured to be sweet and quirky by docile icons like Zooey Deschanel will love the incorporation of craft and shit into explicit sexual material.
MY darling readers, I trust you all had divine holidays in quaint Parisian alleyways and on the decks of Croatian yachts. Otherwise I congratulate you on your Photoshop skills and convincingly self-satisfied status updates. You have set yourself up for another semester of being painfully more interesting than everyone around you. Who said it? But this week’s focus will be on converting the “I wrote the lyrics on a Thursday night going into space you have captured on the collective Newsa Friday. I was writing different songs all night feeds of your admirers into a Bush Week bashand was like, ‘Wow, I’ve been up a long time and ing of your – well no self-respecting Pixie Girl has a “bush” anymore when a Brazilian is just it’s Friday.’ And I was like, wow, it is Friday!” so….nostalgic of a more innocent time. I know
Lament loudly to a drooling male audience that it’s such a shame the ANUSA Obstacle Course was cancelled due to whether, I used to do Gymnastics and can you believe I can still do the splits!? Wednesday Market day. Forget sex, we will be busy dancing like gypsies on acid in Union Court, promoting the meditation club and selling our useless knick-knacks third hand to naïve first years. Thursday Time to pounce. Pull a man in at the Petting Zoo by holding up a llama in a bizarrely sexual way, reminiscent of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines video. Close the deal at Gundaroo pub. Everything done in a quaint village with restored heritage buildings is automatically classy, so forget the normal rules. Friday An art-battle is happening in the student space, cementing the cultural presence of Pixie girls on
. Pb 2. Old Trafford 3. Dreamt 4. Nicky 5. ‘Faebook’ 6. Eight (There were only ever nine) 7. opey, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, oc 8. To reduce drag 9. “With the highest disnction” 10. Belarus; 2009.
atrice Wilson, the co-writer of Rebecca Black’s it’, “Friday”.
1. What is the chemical symbol for lead? 2. What is the name of Manchester United FC’s home stadium? 3. What is the only English word to end in the letters ‘mt’? 4. What is Paris Hilton’s sister’s name? 5. What was the most commonly searched phrase on Google in 2012? (Hint: the answer is very boring). 6. How many of the ‘Twelve Apostles’ – the series of rock formations in Victoria –remain today? 7. Name three of the seven dwarves in Snow White. 8. Why do golf balls have dimples? 9. What does ‘summa cum laude’ mean in English? 10. What is the only country in Europe to retain the death penalty? For an extra point, name the only year in recorded history when there have been no executions in Europe.
campus by realising our ultimate fantasy. Get ready to fight for intellectual acknowledgement and sexual attention of every man, woman and child in attendance. Hopefully the whole thing erupts and we can demonstrate our new-age openness to grouplove. *Just checking: this is all what men still want right? Lots of love Leila
NEXT EDITION’S PULLOUT: INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Woroni's Bush Week edition for 2013!